The Big Hoax: Are “Sales” of “Loans” and “Servicing” Real?

References to sales of loans and servicing rights are usually merely false assertions to distract homeowners and lawyers from looking at what is really happened. By accepting the premise that the loan was sold you are accepting that the loan was (a) real and (b) owned by the party who was designated to appear as a “Seller.”

By accepting the premise that the servicing data and documents were transferred you are accepting that the transferor had the correct data and documents and that the designated servicer is actually in position to represent the accounting records of the party whose name was used to initiate the foreclosure.

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THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A LEGAL OPINION UPON WHICH YOU CAN RELY IN ANY INDIVIDUAL CASE. HIRE A LAWYER.
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As Reynaldo Reyes of Deutsche Bank said in deposition and in recorded interviews, the entire structure and actual events are “counterintuitive.” The banks count on that for good reason. Most lawyers and almost all homeowners assume that at least some of what the banks are saying is true. In fact, nearly everything they say, write or produce as “business records” is a fabrication. But homeowners, lawyers and judges buy it as though it was solid gold.

In defending homeowners from foreclosure, lawyers who win more cases than they lose do so because of their willingness to believe that the entire thing is a hoax. Their withering cross examination and use of discovery reveals the complete absence of any corroborating evidence that would be admissible in court.

Even the most “biased” judges will concede that the case for foreclosure has not been made and they rule for the homeowner. But this only happens if the lawyer takes the opposition to task.

Chase did not acquire loans from WAMU and WAMU did not acquire loans from Long Beach etc. At the time of the claimed “acquisition” those loans were long gone, having been funded or purchased by one of the big 4 investment banks, directly or indirectly (through intermediate investment banks or simple cham conduit fictitious names or entities). In fact the ONLY time that the actual debt was clearly owned by anyone was, at best, a 30 day period during which the investment bank had the debt on its balance sheet as an asset.

So all sales from any seller other than one of the investment banks is a ruse. And there are no references to sales by the investment banks because that would be admitting and accepting potential liability for lending and servicing violations. It would also lead to revelations about how many times and in how many pieces the debt was effectively sold to how many investors who were NOT limited to those who had advanced money to the investment bank for shares in a nonexistent trust that never owned anything and never transacted any business.

Similarly the boarding process is a hoax. There is generally no actual transfer of servicing even with the largest “servicers.” They are all using a central platform on which data is kept, maintained, managed and manipulated by a third party who is kept concealed using employees who are neither bonded nor trained in maintaining accurate records nor protecting private data.

There is no transfer of servicing data. There is no “boarding” and no “audit.” In order to keep up the musical chairs game in which homeowners and lawyers are equally flummoxed, the big investment banks periodically change the designation of servicers and simply rotate the names, giving each one the login and password to enter the central system (usually at a server maintained in Jacksonville, Florida).

BOTTOM LINE: If you accept the premises advanced by the lawyers for the banks you will almost always lose. If you don’t and you aggressively pound on the legal foundation for the evidence they are attempting to use in court the chances of winning arise above 50% and with some lawyers, above 65%.

To be successful there are some attitudes of the defense lawyer that are necessary.

  • The first is that they must believe or be willing to believe that their client deserves to win. A lawyer who thinks that the client is only entitled to his/her time or a delay of the “inevitable” will never, ever win.
  • The second is that they must believe or be willing to believe that the entire scheme of lending, servicing and foreclosure is a hoax. Each word and each document that a lawyer assumes to be valid, authentic and not fabricated is a step toward defeat.
  • The third is that the lawyer must fight to reveal the gaps, consistencies and insufficiencies of the evidence and not to prove that this is the greatest economic crime in human history. All trials are won and lost based on evidence. The burden is always on the foreclosing party or the apparent successors to the foreclosing party to prove that title properly passed.
  • Fourth is arguably the most important and the one that is most overlooked. The lawyer must believe or be willing to believe that the foreclosure was not initiated on behalf of any party who could reasonably described as a creditor or owner of the debt. The existence of the trust, the presence of a real trust in any transaction in which a loan was purchased, sold or settled to a trustee, and the various permutations of strategies employed by the banks are not mere technical points. They are a coverup for the fact that no creditor and no owner of the debt ever receives any benefit from a successful foreclosure of the property.

Yes it is counterintuitive. You are meant to think otherwise and the banks are counting on that with you, your lawyer and the judge. But just because something is counterintuitive doesn’t mean that it isn’t true.

Questions to Ask About the Trust and the Trustee

In the final analysis you are looking for evidence of absence of any real events currently presumed as facts in any foreclosure case.

The trustee issue is a jurisdictional issue. If the Plaintiff Trust does not exist, then it has no standing to make or pursue any claims. If the named Trustee is not engaged in the active management of active trust affairs on behalf of the beneficiaries of a trust, then it is not a trustee imbued with the powers to administer assets that have not been conveyed and entrusted to the Trustee.
 *
If the named beneficiaries have received a promise from the named “Trust” and the beneficiaries have expressly disclaimed any interest in the “underlying” loans, notes, mortgages or debts, then they are not beneficiaries and the entity is not a trust. (That fact pattern describes individual contracts with each investor who purchased a promise to pay executed by someone allegedly on behalf of an entity self proclaimed as a trust. If the named entity does not exist then the party who executed the isntruments may have liability for the promise).
 *
Since the Trust has not been identified as having been organized and existing under the laws of any jurisdiction, it is entirely appropriate to ask questions about the existence of the trust and its right to do business in the state or the courts. The second jurisdictional issue is subject matter jurisdiction in which the question is whether the trust owns the indebtedness. I frequently deal with these issues in drafting the substance of documents to be filed with the court, subject to opinion of local counsel.
 *
If prior demands for discovery are clear the appropriate strategy is to force the issue through a motion to compel. Filing an “amended” request fro discovery probably starts the clock all over again. By the time you get to a demand for sanctions for contempt the case could be over. If it is denied she should consider an interlocutory appeal on the issue of whether the record contains assertions or evidence of the existence of the trust. The only prejudice that could exist would be that the trust doesn’t exist and that “they” (actually the lawyers) would be “prejudiced” because they couldn’t foreclose using the trust name.
 *
There is no doubt in my mind that one or both narratives are true: (1) the trust doesn’t exist and never did and (2) the loan (i.e., the indebtedness) was never purchased by the trust, acting through tis alleged trustee.
 *
One of the problems here is that it would be wise, although not essential, to notice the named Trustee for deposition duces tecum. That’s often a problem because most homeowners not appear to have anyone competent to conduct the deposition. In a normal deposition, one MUST ask the witness identifying questions like
  1. What’s your name?
  2. Who do you work for?
  3. What is the relationship between your bank and this trust?
  4. Besides the alleged Prospectus and the alleged PSA, what agreements exist wherein the Trustee bank is obligated to do or receive anything from the trust, directly or indirectly. [This one should be broken up into parts].
  5. Under what jurisdiction was the trust organized?
  6. Under what jurisdiction is the trust now existing?
  7. Who is the trust officer for the trust?
  8. In which department(s) are trust matters generally handled in the Trustee Bank?
  9. In which department(s) are trust matters usually handled in the Trustee Bank for this trust?
  10. Has the Trustee bank published any memos or guidelines concerning the administration of securitization trusts?
  11. Assuming that the word “loan” means the indebtedness of the homeowners here in this case, on what date did US Bank as trustee purchase this loan to hold in trust?
  12. Who was the seller of the debt in that transaction?
  13. Was payment for the loan performed through a financial account held in the name of the Trustee for the alleged trust?
  14. How did US Bank as Trustee for the alleged trust perform due diligence to confirm the existence and ownership of the debt?
  15. Who are the beneficiaries of the alleged trust?
  16. Who is the trustor or settlor of the alleged trust?
  17. What is the date and name of the instrument that purports to create the trust?
  18. Describe the current functions of US Bank as trustee of the alleged trust.
  19. Describe the current assets of the alleged trust.
  20. Describe date and content of the last financial report received by US Bank as trustee for the alleged trust.
Most likely opposing counsel will object to the question’s relevancy at the time deposition is taken. But relevancy is not even a question at deposition which is by nature a fishing expedition. Even if opposing counsel was right that the question does not directly relate to proof of a fact asserted at trial, you are still entitled to inquire because it might lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

Bank Fraud News: The reason why banks and servicers should receive no presumption of reliability

The following is but a short sampling supporting the argument that any document coming from the banks and servicers is suspect and unworthy of any legal presumption of authenticity or validity. Judges are looking into self-serving fabricated documentation and coming to the wrong conclusion about the facts.

Chase following bank playbook: screw the customer

“Chase provided no prior notice to its cardholders that their crypto ‘purchases’ would be treated as ‘cash advances’ on a going forward basis,” according to the suit.

Tucker claims he was hit with about $140 in fees and a “sky-high” interest rate of 26 percent without warning after Chase reclassified his purchases as cash advances, a violation of the Truth in Lending act.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Stealth: Hiding the elephant in the living room

Its never been a secret that Freddie Mac’s business policy is to remain stealth in any chain of title if possible, and to rely on the servicers to keep its presence a secret in foreclosure proceedings. In fact, this PNC case which was overturned against PNC, involved the Defendant’s assertion that PNC was concealing Freddie Mac’s interest in the loan. Freddie Mac’s business policy appears to rely upon nothing more than handshakes with the originators and servicers. Here is some verbiage from a “Freddie Mac – Mortgage Participation Certificates” disclosure (See: Freddie Mac – Mortgage Participation Certificates):

Deutsch files lawsuit against private mailbox troller following the Deutsch playbook of foreclosure

“Defendants, and each of them initiated a malicious campaign to disrupt the chain of title to prevent Plaintiff from enforcing its contractual rights in the 2006 DOT by way of recording fraudulent documents to purportedly assign the rights under the 2006 DOT without the consent of Plaintiff, and otherwise thereafter fraudulently transfer all rights via a trustee deed upon sale, even though no trustee sale was ever conducted. All subsequently recorded or unrecorded transactions are therefore null, void, and of no effect.”

EDITOR COMMENT: So Deutsch is admitting that its practice of recording fraudulent documents are “null, void and of not effect.” In order to get to that point Deutsch is going to be required to prove standing — i.e., definitive proof that it paid for the debt, which it did not. Deutsch is on dangerous ground here and might deliver a bonus for homeowners. As for the defense, is it really a crime to steal a fraudulent deed of trust supported by fraudulent assignments and endorsements?

Barclays Bank settles for $2,000,000,000 for fraud on investors

Barclays’ offering documents “systematically and intentionally misrepresented key characteristics of the loans,” and more than half of the loans defaulted, federal officials said.

Additionally, the Department of Justice reached similar settlements with two Barclays’ employees involved with subprime residential mortgage-backed securities. They will pay $2 million collectively.

The agreements mark the latest in a string of U.S. settlements with major banks over sales of tainted mortgage securities from 2005 to 2007 that helped set the stage for the real estate crash that contributed to the financial crisis.

Deutsch Pays $7.2 Billion for Fraudulent securitizations

Confirming settlement details the bank disclosed in late December, federal investigators said Deutsche Bank will pay a $3.1 billion civil penalty and provide $4.1 billion in consumer relief to homeowners, borrowers, and communities that were harmed.

The federal penalty is the highest ever for a single entity involved in selling residential mortgage-backed securities that proved to be far more risky than Deutsche Bank led investors to believe. Nonetheless, the agreement represents relief of sorts for the bank and its shareholders, because federal investigators initially sought penalties twice as costly.

Credit Suisse‘s announcement said it would pay the Department of Justice a $2.48 billion civil monetary penalty. The bank will also provide $2.8 billion in consumer relief over five years as part of the deal, which is subject to negotiations over final documentation and approval by Credit Suisse’s board of directors. [Credit Suisse owns SPS Portfolio Servicing.]

Ocwen Settles with 10 States for Illegal Servicing

“The consent order provides that Ocwen will transition its servicing portfolio off of its current servicing platform to a platform better able to manage escrow accounts and establish a new complaint resolution process,” the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance said in a press release. “Ocwen shall hire a third-party firm to audit a statistically significant number of escrow accounts in high-risk areas of the portfolio to determine whether problems continue to exist around the management of escrow accounts and to identify the root cause of those problems.

“Ocwen has faced many legal and regulatory challenges in recent years. In December 2013 it reached a settlement over foreclosure and modification processes with the CFPB and state regulators. A year later, it made a separate agreement with New York regulators that removed company founder William Erbey as CEO.

Wells Fargo Whistleblower is Fired Among Others Who refused to Lie to Customers

In 2014, according to Mr. Tran, his boss ordered him to lie to customers who were facing foreclosure. When Mr. Tran refused, he said, he was fired. He worried that he wouldn’t be able to make his monthly mortgage payments and that he was about to become homeless.

Joining a cadre of former employees claiming they were mistreated for speaking out about problems at the bank, Mr. Tran sued. He argued in court filings that he had been fired in retaliation for blowing the whistle on misconduct at the giant San Francisco-based bank. Mr. Tran said he didn’t want his job back — he wanted Wells Fargo to admit that it had been wrong to fire him and wrong to mislead customers who were facing foreclosure.

 

 

 

Investigator Bill Paatalo: A Plea To These Conspirators – You Have The Power To End This Nightmare.

 http://bpinvestigativeagency.com/a-plea-to-these-conspirators-you-have-the-power-to-end-this-nightmare/

I received an email yesterday morning that starts out with this:

On Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 9:18 AM, the author wrote:

Please help save longtime Sandy Oregon resident Robynne Fauley’s life. She had major cancer surgery less than two weeks ago is getting chemo and is VERY ill. She will be evicted from her home on May 1st if we don’t help.  She has nowhere to go. The ordeal is very likely to kill he[r;].
I happen to have some knowledge about this case, as I was called in as an expert last year to assist an ABC News investigative journalist in Dallas, TX. Unfortunately, after all the time spent conducting interviews and laying out the evidence of fraud on a platter, corporate counsel for ABC News quashed the story. I’m sure this surprises no one. The reality is that the media will continue to plug its ears, while law enforcement will continue to view and categorize crimes of counterfeiting, forgery, tax evasion, and mail/wire fraud as “civil matters” in the context of foreclosures.
So with the clock ticking, I thought I’d throw up a “Hail Mary” plea in the direction of “Diane Meistad” and the rest of these conspirators. Diane, Michael, and the rest of you –  if you’re out there and see this, fix it!
The following email strand (2008 Internal Emails – MGC – RFC – Quality Loan Servicing – Fauley Case) is a rare glimpse of bank employees conspiring to forge, back-date, and fraudulently produce a chain of title.
July 11, 2008
From: Monica Hadley – MGC Mortgage
To: Chris Malapit – (Trustee) Quality Loan Service of Washington
Hadley: Chris, Does this loan have title issues? I was going through the original documents and the chain of title seems to be missing some assignments. It could have been that this was missed in the file and all is well. I want to make sure.
July 11. 2008
From: Chris Malapit
To: Monica Hadley
Subject: *12125 Se Laughing Water, Sandy, OR 97055* Robynne Fauley
The DOT was assigned to WAMU,FA as of 5/3/2007 by instrument#2007-038181. Once we are able to proceed we will then need an assignment from WAMU, FA in LNV Corporation.
July 14, 2008
From: Monica Hadley
To: Chris Malapit
Chris, That is what I see too. We received the loan from Residential Funding Company, LLC and have an AOM from RFC to LNV Corporation. Why did RFC assign the loan to WAMU? Do you have a contact at WAMU who will assign the file to LNV Corporation?
July 14, 2008
From: Chris Malapit
To: Monica Hadley
Doing more research I don’t think Residential Funding Co, LLC had the authority to transfer the interest as the last bene of record per our title report was Deutsche Bank Trust not Residential Funding Co.
July 16, 2008
From: Monica Hadley – MGC Mortgage
To: Chris Malapit – (Trustee) Quality Loan Service of Washington
Subject: Subject: *12125 Se Laughing Water, Sandy, OR 97055* Robynne Fauley
Here is a copy of the most recent title update from the attorney office and the email chain from our attorney.
[FAST FORWARD]
October 17, 2008
From: Michael Barnett (MGC Mortgage, Inc.)
To: Shanda Foreman (entity unknown)
Cc: Carissa Golden (entity unknown)
Subject: Intervening Assignments to Deutsche Bank
 
Shanda, I have 2 RFC loans that are needing assignments from Deutsche Bank to RFC. Please check to see if they are on the list you sent to RFC. See the loan numbers below.
 
17103058/Robynne Fauley, Oregon
17102692/Stuart Berg, New Jersey
 
 
October 24, 2008
From: Michael Barnett
To: ‘Meistad, Diane’ (entity unknown)
 
Diane, this loan was last assigned to Washington Mutual from RFC but, prior to this assignment was assigned from Washington Mutual to Deutsche Bank and recorded in Clackamas County, Oregon. We need an assignment from Deutsche Bank to RFC and from Washington Mutual to LNV Corp. I have templates for both assignments. We will be re-recording the assignment from RFC to Washington Mutual to correct the chain of title with both of these assignments. Also, please find Note Allonge from Deutsche Bank to RFC as well. Please forward these signed assignments back to me via our federal express account #252870180. Thanks Michael.
 
(Assignments & Allonge attached)
[Note: WAMU no longer existed on October 24, 2008. This is a huge problem! But this doesn’t stop MGC from creating the necessary “templates” to solve this problem. Furthermore, Diane Meistad is believed to have been employed by RFC. Yet, MGC creates an “Alonge” from Deutsche Bank to RFC seeking RFC’s execution, not Deutsche Bank.]
October 27, 2008
From: Diane Meistad
To: Michael Barnett
Subject: RE: Default Assignment Request loan #7889719/17103058 (Fauley, Robynne)
 
Michael, If the assignment was recorded from WAMU to DB and another assignment f/RFC to WAMU – technically the second assignment is ‘invalid’ because RFC was not in title to record the second assignment and it should not effect title.
 
Because of the assignment was invalid technically it didn’t transfer ownership.
 
October 27, 2008
From: Michael Barnett
To: Diane Meistad
 
Diane, since the assignment from RFC to WAMU is of record we have to correct the chain of title. At this point the county recorder’s office shows that WAMU is the assignee of record for this loan (which is wrong), right? RFC did assign this loan and shouldn’t have but, in order to fix this one the correct chain should be from Deutsche to RFC, then from RFC to WAMU, then WAMU to LNV Corp, which will correct the chain of title. Litton Loan Servicing LP prepared and recorded the assignment from RFC to WAMU, which should not have been recorded. We still need to get this loan from RFC to LNV to properly convey this property, since we purchased it from RFC. Please call me if you still concerns about the chain of assignments. Borrower loan #7889719/17103058 – Robynne Fauley. Thanks Michael.
 
[NOTE: This was a WAMU originated loan. WAMU sold this loan in a number of undocumented transactions that wound up in the hands of “Deutsche Bank as Trustee.” This means that the Fauley loan was securitized into some trust years prior, to which Deutsche Bank was acting as Trustee. MGC is claiming they purchased this loan when they clearly do not have clear title. They admit in this email that in order to correct the chain of title, they need the final transfer from WAMU to LNV Corp, which at this point in time is an impossibility. The next responsive email shows that Diane Meistad disagrees with MGC’s position / request.]
October 27, 2008
From: Diane Meistad
To: Michael Barnett
Subject: RE: Default Assignment Request loan (Fauley, Robynne)
 
I disagree since RFC was not in position (title position) to transfer the asset.
 
I will need to refer your request for this assignment to our Records Services team in Iowa to begin the process. Diane
[NOTE: Meistad, who is believed to work for RFC, does not believe RFC was in title position to transfer the Deed of Trust. The reference to the “Records Services team in Iowa” means it is likely that Wells Fargo was involved as a master servicer / custodian for the unidentified trust for which Deutsche Bank was Trustee.]
October 27, 2008
From: Michael Barnett
To: Diane Meistad
Subject: RE: Default Assignment Request loan (Fauley, Robynne)
 
Okay Diane, I had my manager look at this file with me and we have determined that we need the following assignments to correct the chain of assignments:
 
1) Corrective Assignment from WAMU TO Deutsche Bank (to correct the assignment from RFC to WAMU, which was recorded in error) & Note Allonge
2) Assignment from Deutsche Bank to RFC & Note Allonge
3) Assignment from RFC to LNV Corp (Note allonge in file already)
 
The assignment from RFC to WAMU was recorded in error so it is not needed. We also have 2 endorsements on the original Note WAMU to RFC to Deutsche Bank which should be cancelled, to correct the Endorsement chain on the Note. We will just need the okay from you via email to cancel these endorsements. Will this work for you? Thanks Michael.
[NOTE: MGC has decided what was done right and wrong in prior transactions for which it has no knowledge, and what now needs to be done in its own best interest to steal and harvest the home. The transfers to and from WAMU as described above would be fraud due to WAMU being defunct. Then there is the request to have RFC cancel out the endorsements and replace with allonges. The third request in the sequence states that an allonge is already in the file from RFC to LNV Corp even though there are no assignments, yet, to support that allonge. That allonge created by MGC is fraudulent, and represents yet another broken sequence in the chain of title.]
Four days after this last email on October 27, 2008, the following two attached assignments are recorded simultaneously in Clackamas County, Oregon (Recorded Assignments – October 31 2008 – Fauley). The first assignment (and I call it the “first” because of its fraudulently back-dated) is executed on “March 10, 2008″ and notarized as such by “Diane Meistad” – Notary Public – State of Minnesota.” The assignor is “Residential Funding Company, LLC fka Residential Funding Corporation” with no Assignee named. NO ASSIGNEE! However, the second assignment is executed on October 27, 2008 with the Assignor named as “Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas (formerly known as Bankers Trust Company) and the Assignee – “Residential Funding Company, LLC.” This assignment is also notarized by “Diane Meistad.” As admitted by Meistad above, RFC was not in title position to transfer the asset as of October 27, 2008. Yet, she acquiesced to MGC’s fraudulent conspiracy to forge, fabricate, and alter documents.
So, Diane Meistad, Michael Barnett, and all the rest of you who where involved in this deceit, this one’s on you. You are the only ones who can put a stop to this injustice. Robynne Fauley, who is elderly and very sick, has suffered immensely from your actions. In six-days she is scheduled to be evicted from her home. Fix this!
Bill Paatalo
Private Investigator – OR PSID$ 49411
BP Investigative Agency, LLC
(406) 328-4075
bill.bpia@gmail.com

Deutsche Bank survives on investor Life-Support

by K.K. MacKinstry

Deutsche Bank announced that it will create more shares and sell them at a 35% discount. Existing shareholders are not happy and in the first four days since the offer was announced, the value of existing shares dropped by 13% as shareholders began sharing off their shares.

Why would Germany’s largest bank do something so drastic? In recent years, the bank like other large American banks, has been involved in countless arbitrations, litigations, and regulatory proceedings as a result of its fraudulent activities, including the manipulation of markets and currencies. Having been found guilty, Deutsche now owes $7.2 billion to the United States Department of Justice and still are on the hook for an additional $10 billion litigation bill. Despite what the mainstream media reports, Deutsche bank is broke. Even if Deutsche sells the new shares, the $8.6 billion they hope to generate will not be able to keep them from filing bankruptcy.

Deutsche lost nearly $2 billion in the last two years, instituted a hiring freeze, cut bonuses by 80%, and are now facing a $2.5 million civil penalty from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for failure to report transactions and have been downgraded.

The German government claims they will not bail Deutsche out and under the EU agreement, they are prevented from doing so. It is likely that an extinction event is on the horizon despite the billions of dollars it has made from fraudulently foreclosing on thousands of American homes and selling heavily discounted stock.

It is noteworthy that Deutsche is the bank that funds the Euro system, which they can now no longer do. Deutsche is ten times larger than Lehman Brothers, the American bank that engineered the loan crisis and was dissolved in 2008.  Also, 90 percent of Deutsche’s revenue is derived from derivative trading- the same activity that destroyed Lehman.

If and when Deutsche Bank crashes, some analysts predict that four major US banks would be expected to become insolvent in a matter of days. And the fallout would impact the entire United States economic system.  Despite the fact that the mainstream media is reporting that home sales are up, inventory is down and the housing market is in full recovery, other economic events paint a more negative scenario.  For example:

  • Foreign governments have been selling US Treasuries back into the US market at the fastest rate in history (thus predicting a future devaluation of the dollar).
  • The Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 was intended to end the possibility of future quantitative easing. However, it legalized the “bail-in”, thus authorizing banks to confiscate customer’s deposits. In other countries where a bail-in has been implemented, governments also seized pension funds, retirements, etc., The government then issued shares in a failing bank or a bond, then proceeded to default on the bond.
  • The stock market is in a larger bubble than in 2008 and is overdue for a crash.
  • Derivatives, which triggered the last major crash, are now at a higher level than in 2007 before the housing market tanked.
  • The petrodollar is in decline and countries are implementing other currencies like the Chinese PetroYuan.
  • On March 15th, the US hit its debt ceiling and can no longer legally continue to borrow money. It’s estimated that the money remaining in the Treasury will be exhausted by June 1st. After that point, if no major money infusions don’t occur the US government ceases to fund itself, its many agencies, and its entitlements.

Meanwhile the federal government is more concerned with destroying a Syrian runway that creating a contingency plan to operate the government.

This isn’t a matter of “if” but “when.”   Does anyone remember how quickly the market crashed in 2007-2008?  Americans tend to have short memories.  It is amazing that our great-grandparents and grandparents that lived through the depression never forgot what it was like. Most were scarred for life by the experience of financial trauma.  It is not unusual to see people who lived through the Great Depression save everything they have ever owned and have active emergency plans ready.

It has only been ten years since the market crashed and most Americans have completely forgotten the lessons from the crash.  Many homeowners who lost one home to foreclosure eagerly jumped in to buy another in a once-again inflated market.  Anyone who is dependent in any significant way upon the government, financial institutions, and/or American financial markets should be on guard.  Furthermore, if you have a home that you know you can sell for premium dollar right now in a market driven by low down payments and low interest rates- you might want to downsize and simplify.  Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/07/deutsche-bank-completes-8-5-billion-cash-raising-exercise.html

Deutsch Bank on Verge of Collapse?

there is no such thing as a soft landing in a cornered marketplace

Despite claiming $52 TRILLION “notional” value in derivatives (nearly all the money in the world) DB has posted a shattering loss and according to the IMF poses the most serious systemic loss to the financial system. Reports indicate that 29 DB employees were at the root of manipulating the LIBOR index which is used as the primary index for variable rate loans. Nobody has addressed the issue of whether adjusted payments should be scrutinized even while knowing that the index was rigged.

 

see http://www.visualcapitalist.com/chart-epic-collapse-deutsche-bank/

Nothing equals nothing. The fact is that DeutschBank allowed itself to be window dressing on bogus REMIC Trusts as though the DB trust department was managing the money for investors. Other than ink on paper, the trusts did not exist and neither did any assets of the purported trusts. DB led the way as a principal party in creating the illusion of “something” when in fact there was nothing at all.

Then DB executives took highly leveraged risks in betting on the bogus mortgage bonds (and other “asset-backed” securities) issued by those bogus REMIC Trusts. Then they papered it over with all kinds of complex derivative products — all of which were based upon the nonexistent ownership of the primary asset — loans. DB claims over $52 Trillion in “value” for those derivatives as a tier 3 asset (i.e., it is worth what management says it is worth). The current leverage ratio for DB is reported at 40x, which is just 2 points lower than Bear Stearns before it toppled over. The leverage is disguised as “sales” for which DB has subsequent liability. All of this was predicted and described by Abraham Briloff  in Unaccountable Accounting published by Harper and Rowe in 1972. Nearly all of these “trades” are merely devices to kick the can down the road, covering over losses that DB would rather not admit.

This situation reminds me of a scene long ago when I was working on Wall Street as a Trainee security analyst in the research department of a medium sized brokerage firm. One of the family partners came into our research department and told us confidently that despite all rumors to the contrary there would be no layoffs in our department. I think I had another job before he returned to his office just ahead of the layoff of the entire department 2 weeks later. My intuition told me that he was lying. On Wall Street it’s not the lying that is frowned upon, it is getting caught. My experience has taught me that the bigger the entity the bigger the lies and the more serious the systemic risk to the whole of society. That was in 1968-9.

At that time the crisis was the “paper crash” — meaning that Wall Street firms had “lost track” of the location and ownership of stock and bond certificates. Now they are filing “lost note” complaints like confetti. When you send a Qualified Written Request or Debt Validation Request, you get nothing unless you are already in litigation where suddenly “original” documentation pops up.

This time it is far more serious as the fortunes of many investors, banks and other institutions rely on the value of DB stock and promises to pay. The problem in 1968-1969 was addressed by “best guesses” and converting from a system where investors received actual certificates to a system where trades were recorded privately on the books and records of the brokerage houses and investors had to rely on the statements from their broker as evidence of their asset holdings.

But the systemic problem is the same. Today it is the notes and loan documents that are lost. The conversion to using a private record of transactions sounds like MERS today. And the claim to $52 Trillion in “notional value” is pure obfuscation. The total of all real money in the world is probably under $70 Trillion. So does DB own most or all of it? I don’t think so and neither does anyone else, which is why DB is in trouble. They got caught.

The report in the link above says that DB is in full crisis mode as DB tries to escape the death spiral that took down Lehman, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch and others.

The importance of these events goes far beyond the significance of DB itself. DB, whose stock is selling at 8% of what it was selling at in 2007, is unfortunately only a symbol of an epic disaster that is slowly unfolding. The fundamentals have changed. Nearly all “debt” that was created over the past 15 years is fatally defective — leaving enforcement only to the good graces of judges who are willing to overlook centuries of law governing the purchase and sale of negotiable paper.

The reason for the continuing weakness in economic systems around the world is that most of the money was sucked out of those systems. The method of the banks in achieving this non-heroic status is responsible for the continuing recession that is creating so much disturbance around the world. Leaders of those countries have been sucking it up in order to create a soft landing.

But here is what we know from history — there is no such thing as a soft landing in a cornered marketplace. The banks converted our economies from 85% reliance on manufacturing and services to an economy where half of the economic activity consists of trading securities back and forth — i.e., trading the same securities over and over again. That means that actual economic activity in the production and delivery of goods and services has declined from 85% to 50% and it is still dropping. The rest is smoke and mirrors. It is the belief or entanglements with the banks that keeps us from moving on, clawing back, and restoring household wealth to the only place that will actually generate real economic activity — the middle class and lower economic tiers.

Henry Ford proved the point spectacularly about 100 years ago when he doubled the wages of his workers — to the astonishment and dismay of his competitors. It was clear to everyone but Ford that he had obviously lost his mind. Despite that clarity that everyone agreed was the true way of looking at things, Ford’s move created the middle class and thus created a stable demographic who continue to buy what he was selling. In a short time, Ford was the dominant player in the marketplace selling automobiles and the “realists” were gone.

Until the middle class is restored (i.e., it gets back the money that was distributed away from them into the hands of a handful of men who had used their positions of influence to corner the market on money), the “recovery” will continue to be smoke and mirrors, the society will be disrupted and eventually companies that do rely on people to purchase their goods and services won’t have anyone to sell them to. And creating debt to cover the shortfall doesn’t work anymore. The middle class must have a pathway to financial security, not to financial ruin.

Perils of Pooling: OneWest

Apparently my article yesterday hit a nerve. NO I wasn’t saying that the only problems were with BofA and Chase. OneWest is another example. Keep in mind that the sole source of information to regulators and the courts are the ONLY people who understand mergers and acquisitions. So it is a little like one of those TV shows where the only way they can get an arrest and conviction is for the perpetrator or suspect to confess. In this case, they “confess” all kinds of things to gain credibility and then lead the agencies and judicial system down a rabbit hole which is now a well trodden path. So many people have gone down that hole that most people that is the way to get to the truth. It isn’t. It is part of a carefully constructed series of complex conflicting lies designed carefully by some very smart lawyers who understand not just the law but the way the law works. The latter is how they are getting away with it.

Back to OneWest, which we have detailed in the past.

The FDIC has posted the agreement at http://www.fdic.gov/about/freedom/IndyMacMasterPurchaseAgrmt.pdf

OneWest was created almost literally overnight (actually over a weekend) by some highly placed players from Wall Street. There is an 80% loss sharing arrangement with the FDIC and yes, there appears to be some grey area about ownership of the loans because of that loss sharing agreement. But the evidence of a transaction in which the loans were actually purchased by a brand new entity that was essentially unfunded is completely absent. And that is because OneWest and Deutsch take the position that the loans were securitized despite IndyMac’s assurances to the contrary. The only loans in which OneWest appears to be a player are those in which the loan was subject to (false) claims of securitization. No money went to the trustee, no money went to the trust, no assets went into the pool because the REMIC asset pool lacked the funding to purchase any assets.

Add to that a few facts. Deutsch is usually the “trustee”of the REMIC asset pool, but Reynaldo Reyes says he has nothing to do. He has no trust accounts and makes no decisions and performs no actions. Sound familiar. I have him on tape and his deposition has already been taken and publicized on the internet by others. Reyes says the whole arrangement is “counter-intuitive” (a very creative way of saying it is a lie). It is up to the servicer (OneWest) to decide what loans are subject to modification, mediation or even reinstatement. It is up to the servicer as to when to foreclose. And the servicer here is OneWest while the Master Servicer appears to be the investment banking arm of Deutsch, although I do not have that confirmed.

The way Reyes speaks about it the whole thing ALMOST makes sense. That is, until you start thinking about it. If Deutsch Bank has an extensive trust subsidiary, which it does, then why is a VP of asset management in control of the trust operations of the REMIC asset pools. Answer: because there are no funded trusts and there are no asset pools with assets. Hence any statement by OneWest that it is the owner of the loan is untrue as is the allegation that Deutsch is the trustee because all trustee duties have been delegated to the servicer. That leaves the investor with an empty box for an asset pool and no trustee or manager or even an agent to to actually know what is going on or who is monitoring their money and investments.

Note that like BOfA using Red Oak Merger Corp., there is the creation of a fictional entity that was not used by the name of, no kidding, “Holdco.” This is to shield OneWest from certain liabilities as a lender. Legally it doesn’t work that way but practically it generally does work that way because judges listen to bank lawyers to tell them what all this means. That is like asking a 1st degree murder defendant to explain to the jury the meaning of reasonable doubt.

Now be careful here because there is a “loan sale” agreement referenced in the package posted by the FDIC. But it refers to an exhibit F. There is no exhibit F and like the ambiguous agreements with the FDIC in Countrywide and Washington mutual, there are words there, but they don’t really say anything. Suffice it to say that despite some fabricated documents to the contrary, there is no evidence I have seen that any loan  receivable was transferred to or from a REMIC asset pool, Indy-mac, or Hold-co.

These people were not stupid and they are not idiots. And their lawyers are pretty smart too. They know that with the presumption of a funded loan in existence, the banks could pretty much get away with saying anything they wanted about the ownership, the identity of the creditor and the ability to make a credit bid at the auction of a property that should never have been foreclosed in the first instance — and certainly not by these people.

But if you dig just a little deeper you will see that the banks are represented to the regulatory authorities that they own the bonds (not true because the bonds were created and issued to specific investors who bought them); thus they include the bonds as significant items on their balance sheet which allows them to be called mega banks or too big to fail when in fact they have a tiny fraction of the reserve requirements of the Federal Reserve which follows the Basel accords.

Then when you turn your head and peak into courtrooms you find the same banks claiming ownership of the loan receivable, which was created when the funding occurred at the “closing” of the loan. They know they are taking inconsistent positions but most judges lack the sophistication to pinpoint the inconsistency. And that is how 5 million people lost their homes.

On the one hand the banks are claiming there was no fraud in the issuance of mortgage backed bonds by a REMIC asset pool formed as a trust. In fact, they say the loans were transferred into the REMIC asset pool. Which means that ownership of the mortgage bonds is ownership of the loans — at least that is what the paperwork shows that was used to sell pension funds on buying these worthless bogus bonds. Then they turn around and come to court as the “holder” and get a foreclosure sale in which the bank submits the credit bid and buys the property without spending one dime. What they have done is, in lay terms, offered the debt to pay for the property. But the debt, according to the same people is owned by the investors or the REMIC trust, not the banks.

Then they turn to the insurers and counterparties on credit default swaps, and the Federal reserve that is buying these bonds and they say that the banks own the bonds, have an insurable interest, and should receive the proceeds of payments instead of the investors who actually put up the money. And then they say in court that the account receivable is unpaid, there is a default, and therefore the home should be foreclosed. What they have done is create a chaotic complex of lies and turn it into an illusion that changes colors and density depending upon whom the banks are talking with.

There is no default on the account receivable if the account was paid, regardless of who paid it — as long as it was really paid to either the owner of the loan receivable or the authorized agent of the owner (i.e., the investor/lender). And so it is paid. And if paid, there can be no action on the note because the loan receivable has been satisfied. There can be no action on the mortgage because it was never a perfected lien and because the loan receivable was extinguished by PAYMENT. You can’t use the mortgage to enforce the note which is evidence for enforcement of a debt when the debt no longer exists.

Judges are confused. The borrower must owe money to someone so why not simply enter judgment and let the creditors sort it out amongst themselves. The answer is because that is not the rule of law and if a creditor has a claim against the borrower it should be brought by that creditor not some stranger to the transaction whose actions are stripping the real creditor of lien rights and collection rights over the debt. What the courts are doing, by analogy, is saying that you must have killed someone when you fired that gun so we will dispense with evidence and a jury and proceed to sentencing. We will let the people in the crowd decide who is the victim who can bring a wrongful death action against you even if we don’t even know when the gun was fired and who pulled the trigger. In the meanwhile you are sentenced to death or life in prison under our rocket docket for murders of unknown persons.

 

 

FDIC ($677.4 Billion) Charges Banks With Fraud, Illegal Underwriting Practices

Has Obama Awakened?

Appraisal Fraud Alleged by this Blog

is found to be Centerpiece of this Action

Editor’s Note: The FDIC claims it studied a rough sampling of the securitized loans and alleges more than 60% of the loans packed into each deal contain material untrue or misleading statements.

In a resounding acceptance of the principles enunciated first on this blog, the FDIC, being the best regulator to file the charges, has moved against the big banks and servicers in the false scheme of securitization resulting in trillions in losses to the government, investors and homeowners.

Central to the allegations are that “defendants made untrue statements or omitted important information about such material facts as the loan-to-value ratios of the mortgage loans, the extent to which appraisals of the properties that secured the loans were performed in compliance with professional appraisal standards, the number of borrowers who did not live in the houses that secured their loans (that is, the number of properties that were not primary residences), and the extent to which the entities that made the loans disregarded their own standards in doing so.”

The allegations are so serious that it is unlikely that there will be any slap on the wrist coming out of this. The result of this lawsuit will have a profound impact on the housing market, the financial community and best of all, homeowners who have been using these allegations as defenses for years. It is apparent that the false premises upon which the bogus mortgage bonds were sold, combined with the complete avoidance of the supposed securitization scheme that was “in place,” has prompted this huge lawsuit. It is the tip of an iceberg where the administration is finally bringing the war to the door of the banks and will most likely lead to criminal charges as the cases progress.

 

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. filed three lawsuits against big banks, alleging the lenders misrepresented the quality of securitized loans sold to the now defunct Texas firm, Guaranty Bank.

The FDIC took Austin, Texas-based Guaranty Bank into receivership back in Aug. 2009.

This week, the regulator filed multiple lawsuits in Austin, Texas, suggesting Guaranty suffered major losses from toxic RMBS loans sold and packaged by mega banks and other financial institutions.

Defendants named in the multibillion-dollar lawsuits includeCountrywideJPMorgan Chase ($38.04 0%)Ally Financial,Deutsche Bank Securities ($34.07 0%)Bank of America ($8.190%) and Goldman Sachs ($105.32 0%) among others.

FDIC, on behalf of Guaranty, claims the banks misrepresented loan-to-value ratios, underwriting criteria and appraisal amounts when selling, packaging and underwriting home loans that became collateral for mortgage securities sold to Guaranty.

Specifically, the FDIC alleges the financial firms violated federal and Texas securities laws by failing to fully disclose or truthfully represent the quality of mortgages backing the security certificates.

In the first case, the FDIC accuses Countrywide Securities, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs of playing a role in the packaging, selling or securitization of mortgages sold off to Guaranty Bank for $1.5 billion. The suit says Guaranty Bank acquired 8 certificates in the transaction.

The FDIC claims it studied a rough sampling of the securitized loans and alleges more than 60% of the loans packed into each deal contain material untrue or misleading statements.

The FDIC is suing for an undetermined amount that is no less than $559.7 million in damages.

The bank regulator also sued Ally Securities, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank Securities and JPMorgan Securities among others. In that suit, the regulator claims, the firms were involved in the packaging, underwriting and sale of eight RMBS certificates valued at $1.8 billion.

The FDIC alleged in court records that the “defendants made untrue statements or omitted important information about such material facts as the loan-to-value ratios of the mortgage loans, the extent to which appraisals of the properties that secured the loans were performed in compliance with professional appraisal standards, the number of borrowers who did not live in the houses that secured their loans (that is, the number of properties that were not primary residences), and the extent to which the entities that made the loans disregarded their own standards in doing so.”

In that complaint, the FDIC is asking for at least $900.6 million in damages.

The regulator also sued JPMorgan Securities, Merrill Lynch, RBS Securities and WaMu Asset Acceptance Corp., making similar claims about 20 RMBS certificates that Guaranty paid $2.1 billion to acquire. The FDIC is requesting at least $677.4 billion in damages.

Local Governments on Rampage Against Banks’ Manipulation of Credit Markets

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“When both government and the citizens start acting together, things are likely to change in a big way. There appears to be a unity of interests — the investors who thought they were buying bonds from a REMIC pool, the homeowners who thought they were buying a properly verified and underwritten loan from a pretender lender, and the local governments who were tricked into believing that their loans were viable and trustworthy based upon the gold standard of rate indexes. In many cases, the only reason for the municipal loan, was the illusion of growing demographics requiring greater infrastructure, instead of repairing the existing the infrastructure. As a result, the cities ended up with loans on unneeded products just like homeowners ended up with loans on houses that were always worth far less than the appraisal used.” — Neil F Garfield, www.livinglies.me

Editors Note: Hundreds of government agencies and local governments are on the rampage realizing that they were duped by Wall Street into buying into defective loan products. This puts them in the same class as homeowners who bought such loan products, investors who believed they were buying Mortgage Bonds to fund the loans, and dozens of other institutions who relied upon the lies told by the banks who were having a merry old time creating “trading profits” that were the direct result of stealing money and homes, and misleading the financial world on the status of the interest rates in the financial world. All loans tied to Libor (London Interbank Offered Rate), which was the gold standard,  are now in question as to whether the reset on those loans was true, correct or simply faked.

The repercussions of this will grow as the realization hits the victims of this gigantic fraud broadens into a general inquiry about most of the major practices in use — especially those in which claims of securitization were offered. It is now obvious that the deal proposed to pension funds and other investors was simply ignored by the banks who used the money to create faked trading profits, removing from the pool of investments money intended for funding loans that were properly originated and dutifully underwritten.

Cities, Counties, Homeowners and Investors are all victims of being tricked into loans that were simply unsustainable and were being manipulated to the advantage of the banks they trusted to act responsibly and who instead acted reprehensibly.

The ramifications for the mortgage and foreclosure markets could not be larger. If the banks were lying about the basics of the rate and the terms then what else did they do? As the Governor or of the Bank of England said, the business model of the banks appears to have been “lie More” rather than living up to the trust reposed in them by those who dealt with them as “customers.” Specifically, the evidence suggests that while the funding of the loan and the closing documents were coincidentally related in time, they specifically excluded any reference to each other, which means that the financial transaction as it actually occurred is undocumented and the document trail refers to financial transactions that did not involve money exchanging hands.

The natural conclusion created by the coincidence of the funding and the documents was to conclude that the two were related. But the actual instructions and wire transfers tell another story. This debunks the myth of securitization and more particularly the mortgage lien. How can the mortgage apply to a transaction described in the note that never took place and where the terms of the loan were different than what was expected by the creditors (investors, like pension and other managed funds) in the mortgage bond. The parties are different too. The wires funding the transaction are devoid of any reference to the supposed lender in the closing documents presented to borrowers. Thus you have different parties and different terms — one in the money trail, which was undocumented, and the other in the document trail which refers to transactions in which no money exchanged hands.

When the municipalities like Baltimore start digging they are going to find that manipulation of Libor was only one of several issues about which the Banks lied.

Rate Scandal Stirs Scramble for Damages

BY NATHANIEL POPPER

As unemployment climbed and tax revenue fell, the city of Baltimore laid off employees and cut services in the midst of the financial crisis. Its leaders now say the city’s troubles were aggravated by bankers’ manipulation of a key interest rate linked to hundreds of millions of dollars the city had borrowed.

Baltimore has been leading a battle in Manhattan federal court against the banks that determine the interest rate, the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, which serves as a benchmark for global borrowing and stands at the center of the latest banking scandal. Now cities, states and municipal agencies nationwide, including Massachusetts, Nassau County on Long Island, and California’s public pension system, are looking at whether they suffered similar losses and are weighing legal action.

Dozens of lawsuits filed by municipalities, pension funds and hedge funds have been consolidated into a few related cases against more than a dozen banks that are involved in setting Libor each day, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank and Barclays. Last month, Barclays admitted to regulators that it tried to manipulate Libor before and during the financial crisis in 2008, and paid $450 million to settle the charges. It said other banks were doing the same, but none of them have been accused of wrongdoing. Libor, a measure of how much banks must pay to borrow money from one another in the short term, is set through a daily poll of the banks.

The rate influences what consumers, businesses and investors pay on a wide range of financial contracts, as varied as mortgages and interest rate swaps. Barclays has said it and other banks understated the rate during the financial crisis to make themselves look healthier to the public, rather than to make more money from clients. As regulators and lawmakers in Washington and Europe assess the depth of the Libor abuse and the failure to address it, economists and analysts are already predicting it could be one of the most expensive scandals to hit Wall Street since the financial crisis.

Governments and other investors may face many hurdles in proving damages. But Darrell Duffie, a professor of finance at Stanford, said he expected that their lawsuits alone could lead to the banks’ paying out tens of billions of dollars, echoing numbers from a recent report by analysts at Nomura Equity Research.

American municipalities have been among the first to claim losses from the supposed rate-rigging, because many of them borrow money through investment vehicles that directly derive their value from Libor. Peter Shapiro, who advises Baltimore and other cities on their use of these investments, said that “about 75 percent of major cities have contracts linked to this.”

If the banks submitted artificially low Libor rates during the financial crisis in 2008, as Barclays has admitted, it would have led cities and states to receive smaller payments from financial contracts they had entered with their banks, Mr. Shapiro said.

“Unambiguously, state and local government agencies lost money because of the manipulation of Libor,” said Mr. Shapiro, who is managing director of the Swap Financial Group and is not involved in any of the lawsuits. “The number is likely to be very, very big.”

The banks have declined to comment on the lawsuits, but their lawyers have asked for the cases to be dismissed in court filings, pointing to the many unusual factors that influenced Libor during the crisis.

The efforts to calculate potential losses are complicated by the fact that Libor is used to determine the cost of thousands of financial products around the globe each day. If Libor was artificially pushed down on a particular day, it would help people involved in some types of contracts and hurt people involved in others.

Securities lawyers say the lawsuits will not be easy to win because the investors will first have to prove that the banks successfully pushed down Libor for an extended period during the crisis, and then will have to demonstrate that it was down on the day when the bank calculated particular payments. In addition, investors may have to prove that the specific bank from which they were receiving their payment was involved in the manipulation. Before it even reaches the point of proving such subtleties, however, the banks could be compelled to settle the cases.

One of the major complaints was filed by several traders and hedge funds that entered into futures contracts that are traded through the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and that pay out based on Libor. These contracts were a popular way to protect against spikes in interest rates, but they would not have paid off as expected if Libor had been artificially lowered.

A 2010 study cited in the suit — conducted by professors at the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Minnesota — indicated that Libor was significantly lower than it should have been throughout 2008 and was particularly skewed around the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers.

A separate complaint filed in 2010 by the investment firm Charles Schwab asserts that some of its mutual funds, including popular ones like the Schwab Total Bond Market Fund, lost money on similar investments.

The complaints being voiced by municipalities are mostly related to their use of a popular financial contract known as an interest rate swap. States and cities generally enter into these swaps with specific banks so that they can borrow money in the bond market. They pay bondholders based on a floating interest rate — like an adjustable-rate mortgage — but end up paying their bankers a fixed rate through a swap. If Libor is artificially lowered, the municipality is stuck paying the same fixed rate, but it receives a smaller variable payment from its bank.

Even before the current controversy, some municipal activists have said that banks took advantage of the financial inexperience of municipal officials to sell them billions of dollars of interest rate swaps. Experts in municipal finance say that because of the particular way that cities and states borrow money, they are especially liable to lose out on their swaps if Libor drops.

Mr. Shapiro, who helps cities, states and companies negotiate these contracts, said that if a city had interest rate swaps on bonds worth $1 billion and Libor was artificially pushed down by 0.30 percent, which is what the lawsuits contend, that city would have lost $3 million a year. The lawsuit claims the manipulation occurred over three years. Barclays’ settlement with regulators did not specify how much the banks’ actions may have moved Libor.

In Nassau County, the comptroller, George Maragos, said in a statement that according to his own calculations, Libor manipulation may have cost the county $13 million on swaps related to $600 million of outstanding bonds.

A Massachusetts state official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of potential future legal actions, said the state was calculating its potential losses.

“We are deeply concerned and we are carefully analyzing all of our options,” the official said.

Anne Simpson, a portfolio manager at the California Public Employees’ Retirement System — the nation’s largest pension fund — said that the fund’s officials “are sifting through the impact, but there certainly is an impact.”

In Baltimore, the city had Libor-based interest rate swaps on about $550 million of bonds, according to the city’s financial report from 2008, the central year discussed in the lawsuit. The city’s lawyers have declined to specify what they think Baltimore’s losses were.

The city solicitor, George Nilson, said that the rate manipulation claims meant that the city lost out on money when it needed it the most.

“The injury we suffered during the time we suffered it hurt more because we were challenged budgetarily,” Mr. Nilson said. “Every dollar we lost due to illegal conduct was a dollar we couldn’t pay to keep open recreation centers or to pay police officers.”


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OCC Says Bank Losses Mounting on Defective Foreclosures and Loans

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Editor’s Comment:  

This has been my point, although the article below only covers a small part of the losses that will eventually befall the banks and servicers. The banks are carrying assets on their balance sheet that do not exist — especially, as this article points, out home equity lines of credit that are second in priority to the first mortgage. We already know that those home equity loans are worthless. But even the first mortgages are claimed as assets despite the fact that the bank didn’t put up one dime to fund the mortgage or purchase it. How the big accounting firms are permitting this, why the SEC is not objecting to it, is amystery only if you believe in the tooth fairy. They are missing it because they have been told not to bring down the banks — at least not yet. Eventually though, the true figures will emerge and the so-called large or mega banks will be shown for what they are — the same sham that was created in the origination of the loans.

Regulator Warns of Mortgage Losses for U.S. Banks

by Alan Zibel

WASHINGTON–U.S. banks may be hit with a new round of mortgage losses over the next five years as borrowers who took out home-equity loans a decade earlier face increased monthly payments, a regulator warned Thursday.The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency warned that more than half the amount borrowed on equity lines at national banks, or $221 billion out of $380 billion, will face higher payments from 2014 to 2017, exposing banks to the possibility of losses if some equity-line borrowers default.

Home-equity lines extended during the mid-2000s housing-market-boom years typically had a 10-year period in which the borrower made only interest payments. When that period ends, borrowers must start to pay back the principal balance as well, increasing monthly payments for some homeowners who have seen their incomes and property values decline.

Darrin Benhart, deputy comptroller for credit and market risk at the OCC, said “banks are going to have to be thinking about ways that they’re going to address” the problem, including debt restructuring. Analysts have been voicing similar concerns. In a May report, Deutsche Bank identified First Horizon National Corp. (FHN), PNC Financial Services Group Inc. (PNC), TCF Financial Corp. (TCB) and Huntington Bancshares Inc. (HBAN) as institutions that are most exposed to losses from home-equity lines.

The OCC report, the first in a series of semi-annual reports on financial risks in the banking system, also said banks have shifted to higher-risk investments to boost interest-rate returns, a development that could create future losses for banks.

The OCC separately is studying which banks could be hit the hardest if interest rates rise. For larger banks the regulator said it will focus on problems with mortgage servicing as well as underwriting standards for business loans and exposure to European institutions. The agency also will scrutinize smaller banks to look at loss exposure from commercial real-estate loans and new types of auto and other lending products

The report said banks still face a huge overhang of delinquent and foreclosed properties stemming from the nationwide housing bust. And the nation’s largest banks “continue to face profitability challenges” from deficiencies in their foreclosure-processing operations, which bank regulators are forcing the nation’s largest mortgage servicers to overhaul.

The report, however, said that banks are in a far stronger financial position than before the recession of 2007-2009, with higher levels of capital around the industry, particularly at the largest banks.


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Cities, Counties Realize They Have Common Interests With Homeowners

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One More Windfall for the Banks

Editor’s Comment:  

If it is any comfort, the chief financial officers and treasury management officers of cities and counties are starting to realize that they are victims of the banks and that most of these bankruptcies (Stockton CA for example) or near bankruptcy were completely avoidable. Their complaints are sounding more and more like the complaints of homeowners. And they are both right. Those debts should not be paid at all until the amount of the debt can be ascertained in real dollars and the identity of the actual losing party — whether they are defined as creditor or not —- can be ascertained. I don’t think any of the cities, counties or the homeowners and businesses whose debts were subject to false claims of securitization should pay anything to anyone until the governments and law enforcement figures it out. 

The federal government is the only one with the resources to go through all the data  and come up with at least an approximation of the truth of the path of the money. The Courts, Judges and Lawyers are woefully under-resourced to take this mess apart. The only reason that Too Big to Fail is believed by anyone is that nobody fully understands the consequences and actual money impact of the false cloud of derivatives created by the banks exceeding all the money in the word by a wide margin. We have let the Banks minimize the actual currency in favor of looking at a cloud of illusions created by the banks which they and only they want treated as real. We will find the same things operating on student loans where the intermediated banks actually never funded the loans but claim a guarantee from the Federal government. 

These debts should fall squarely on the banks, whether they fail or not, until we get a real accounting of the real transactions in which real money exchanged hands. And that is the mantra of my seminars for lawyers, paralegals, homeowners, city and county officials coming up at the end of this month as I travel through Phoenix, Stockton,  Anaheim etc. 

There is no possibility that  actual debt is $800 Trillion because all the money we have in the world amounts to only $70 trillion. So the loans were part of a chaotic, complex series of dots on a scatter diagram wherein all the data was an illusion except perhaps one of the hundreds of dots on each loan, bond or mortgage. And they certainly were not secured because the terms of repayment and the amount of the loan were off from the beginning as was the index from which they took data to change the so-called payments dude on loans that perhaps never existed but certainly do not exist now. 

The door that opened just a crack has been the Libor rate scandal in which the banks, led by Barclay’s, set interest rates based upon actual and perceived movement of interest rates in the markets. As in other things, these rates were as bogus, since 2008 as the Triple AAA ratings offered to investors in Mortgage-Backed Bonds and the appraisals offered to homeowners. 

City and County officials, once completely blind to the realities of the situation and skeptical of homeowner claims that the mortgages, foreclosures and auctions were rigged, are now realizing that their loans, interest rates, and terms were rigged just like homeowners’ were and that the trap they supposedly are in is an illusion just like the premises upon which Wall Street convinced them (city and County officials) that these loan products were viable and correct implementation of sound fiscal policy.

It wasn’t sound fiscal policy, they weren’t good loans and had the officials actually understood what Wall Street was doing —- creating false demands for services and infrastructure as well as complex financial products that were doomed from the start, they would never have gone ahead with these bonds or loans. Now the whole municipal market is as screwed up as the mortgage and housing markets and we know the banks are to blame because they have already admitted everything necessary to blame them. 

Besides prosecuting claims against the banks for civil and criminal penalties, everyone needs to contemplate the consequences of the status quo and whether they want to change it. One such game changer is eminent domain takeovers of  those toxic mortgages that “seemed right at the time.” But more than that, the cities and counties must look to experts who understand the derivative market (as well as anyone can) and realize that their debt, like everyone else’s debt is an illusion created in the cloud of credit derivatives now estimated at $800 trillion while the total amount of real credit and currency is only $70 trillion. 

Like Homeowners, they must realize that while they borrowed the money, the loan or liability created by the loan or bond was an illusion already paid in full at the time they incurred the obligation. That seems impossible but so does the news on these subjects as one digs deeper and deeper. The banks collected up all the money made under these circumstances and gave their people bonuses amounting to 50% of the profit of each financial institution. Inside that “profit”were trading profits claims by trading fake paper claimed to be owned by the banks while the paper was in the cloud of derivatives that is 10-12 times all the money in the world. 

That debt has long since been paid in full. The only question remaining is whether we can identify the actual people who have lost actual money and what we are going to do for them. But paying the banks on the loan or bonds is certainly not one of the alternatives that should be considered because, like the bailout, it just gives them one more windfall.

Rate Scandal Stirs Scramble for Damages

As unemployment climbed and tax revenue fell, the city of Baltimore laid off employees and cut services in the midst of the financial crisis. Its leaders now say the city’s troubles were aggravated by bankers’ manipulation of a key interest rate linked to hundreds of millions of dollars the city had borrowed.

Baltimore has been leading a battle in Manhattan federal court against the banks that determine the interest rate, the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, which serves as a benchmark for global borrowing and stands at the center of the latest banking scandal. Now cities, states and municipal agencies nationwide, including Massachusetts, Nassau County on Long Island, and California’s public pension system, are looking at whether they suffered similar losses and are weighing legal action.

Dozens of lawsuits filed by municipalities, pension funds and hedge funds have been consolidated into a few related cases against more than a dozen banks that are involved in setting Libor each day, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank and Barclays. Last month, Barclays admitted to regulators that it tried to manipulate Libor before and during the financial crisis in 2008, and paid $450 million to settle the charges. It said other banks were doing the same, but none of them have been accused of wrongdoing.

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It’s Down to Banks vs Society

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We are trying to rescue the creditors and restart the world that is dominated by the creditors. We have to rescue the debtors instead before we are going to see the end of this process. — Economist Steve Keen

Bankers Are Willing to Let Society Crash In Order to Make More Money

Editor’s Comment: 

I was reminded last night of a comment from a former bond trader and mortgage bundler that the conference calls are gleeful about the collapse of economies and societies around the world. Wall Street will profit greatly on both the down side and then later when asset prices go so low that housing falls under distressed housing programs and 125% loans become available in bulk. They think this is all just swell. I don’t.

The obvious intent on the part of the mega banks and servicers is to bring everything down with a crash using every means possible. When you look at the offers state and federal government programs have offered for the banks to modify, when you see the amount of money poured into these banks by our federal government in order to prop them up, you cannot conclude otherwise: they want our society to end up closed down not only by foreclosure but in any other way possible. They withhold credit from everyone except the insider’s club.

So now it is up to us. Either we take the banks apart or they will take us apart. I had a recent look at many modification proposals. In the batch I saw, the average offer from the homeowner was to accept a loan 20%-30% higher than fair market value and 50%-75% higher than foreclosure is producing. It seems we are addicted to the belief that this can’t be true because no reasonable person would act like that. But the answer is that the system is rigged so that the intermediaries (the megabanks) control what the investors and homeowners see and hear, they make far more money on foreclosures than they do on modifications, and they make far money on all the “bets” about the failure of the loan by foreclosing and not modifying.

The reason for the unreasonable behavior, as it appears, is that it is perfectly reasonable in a lending environment turned on its head — where the object was to either fund a loan that was sure to fail, or keep a string attached that would declare it as part of a failed “pool” that would trigger insurance and swaps payments.Steve Keen: Why 2012 Is Shaping Up To Be A Particularly Ugly Year

At the high level, our global economic plight is quite simple to understand says noted Australian deflationist Steve Keen.

Banks began lending money at a faster rate than the global economy grew, and we’re now at the turning point where we simply have run out of new borrowers for the ever-growing debt the system has become addicted to.

Once borrowers start eschewing rather than seeking debt, asset prices begin to fall — which in turn makes these same people want to liquidate their holdings, which puts further downward pressure on asset prices:

The reason that we have this trauma for the asset markets is because of this whole relationship that rising debt has to the level of asset market. If you think about the best example is the demand for housing, where does it come from? It comes from new mortgages. Therefore, if you want to sustain he current price level of houses, you have to have a constant flow of new mortgages. If you want the prices to rise, you need the flow of mortgages to also be rising.

Therefore, there is a correlation between accelerating and rising asset markets. That correlation applies very directly to housing. You look at the 20-year period of the market relationship from 1990 to now; the correlation of accelerating mortgage debt with changing house prices is 0.8. It is a very high correlation.

Now, that means that when there is a period where private debt is accelerating you are generally going to see rising asset markets, which of course is what we had up to 2000 for the stock market and of course 2006 for the housing market. Now that we have decelerating debt — so debt is slowing down more rapidly at this time rather than accelerating — that is going to mean falling asset markets.

Because we have such a huge overhang of debt, that process of debt decelerating downwards is more likely to rule most of the time. We will therefore find the asset markets traumatizing on the way down — which of course encourages people to get out of debt. Therefore, it is a positive feedback process on the way up and it is a positive feedback process on the way down.

He sees all of the major countries of the world grappling with deflation now, and in many cases, focusing their efforts in exactly the wrong direction to address the root cause:

Europe is imploding under its own volition and I think the Euro is probably going to collapse at some stage or contract to being a Northern Euro rather than the whole of Euro. We will probably see every government of Europe be overthrown and quite possibly have a return to fascist governments. It came very close to that in Greece with fascists getting five percent of the vote up from zero. So political turmoil in Europe and that seems to be Europe’s fate.

I can see England going into a credit crunch year, because if you think America’s debt is scary, you have not seen England’s level of debt. America has a maximum ratio of private debt to GDP adjusted over 300%; England’s is 450%. America’s financial sector debt was 120% of GDP, England’s is 250%. It is the hot money capital of the western world.

And now that we are finally seeing decelerating debt over there plus the government running on an austerity program at the same time, which means there are two factors pulling on demand out of that economy at once. I think there will be a credit crunch in England, so that is going to take place as well.

America is still caught in the deleveraging process. It tried to get out, it seemed to be working for a short while, and the government stimulus seemed to certainly help. Now, that they are going back to reducing that stimulus, they are pulling up the one thing that was keeping the demand up in the American economy and it is heading back down again. We are now seeing the assets market crashing once more. That should cause a return to decelerating debt — for a while you were accelerating very rapidly and that’s what gave you a boost in employment —  so you are falling back down again.

Australia is running out of steam because it got through the financial crisis by literally kicking the can down the road by restarting the housing bubble with a policy I call the first-time vendors boost. Where they gave first time buyers a larger amount of money from the government and they handed over times five or ten to the people they bought the house off from the leverage they got from the banking sector. Therefore, that finally ran out for them.

China got through the crisis with an enormous stimulus package. I think in that case it is increasing the money supply by 28% in one year. That is setting off a huge property bubble, which from what I have heard from colleagues of mine is also ending.

Therefore, it is a particularly ugly year for the global economy and as you say, we are still trying to get business back to usual. We are trying to rescue the creditors and restart the world that is dominated by the creditors. We have to rescue the debtors instead before we are going to see the end of this process.

In order to successfully emerge on the other side of this this painful period with a more sustainable system, he believes the moral hazard of bailing out the banks is going to have end:

[The banks] have to suffer and suffer badly. They will have to suffer in such a way that in a decade they will be scared in order to never behave in this way again. You have to reduce the financial sector to about one third of its current size and we have to also ultimately set up financial institutions and financial instruments in such a way that it is no longer desirable from a public point of view to borrow and gamble in rising assets processes.

The real mistake we made was to let this gambling happen as it has so many times in the past, however, we let it go on for far longer than we have ever let it go on for before. Therefore, we have a far greater financial parasite and a far greater crisis.

And he offers an unconventional proposal for how this can be achieved:

I think the mistake [central banks] are going to make is to continue honoring debts that should never have been created in the first place. We really know that that the subprime lending was totally irresponsible lending. When it comes to saying “who is responsible for bad debt?” you have to really blame the lender rather than the borrower, because lenders have far greater resources to work out whether or not the borrower can actually afford the debt they are putting out there.

They were creating debt just because it was a way of getting fees, short-term profit, and they then sold the debt onto unsuspecting members of the public as well and securitized their way out of trouble. They ended up giving the hot potato to the public. So, you should not be honoring that debt, you should be abolishing it. But of course they have actually packaged a lot of that debt and sold it to the public as well, you cannot just abolish it, because you then would penalize people who actually thought they were being responsible in saving and buying assets.

Therefore, I am talking in favor of what I call a modern debt jubilee or quantitative easing for the public, where the central banks would create ‘central bank money’ (we cannot destroy or abolish the debt, which would also destroy the incomes of the people who own the bonds the banks have sold). We have to create the state money and give it to the public, but on condition that if you have any debt you have to pay your debt down — no choice. Therefore, if you have debt, you can reduce the debt level, but if you do not have debt, you get a cash injection.

Of course, this would then feed into the financial sector would have to reduce the value of the debts that it currently owns, which means income from debt instruments would also fall. So, people who had bought bonds for their retirement and so on would find that their income would go down, but on the other hand, they would be compensated by a cash injection.

The one part of the system that would be reduced in size is the financial sector itself. That is the part we have to reduce and we have to make smaller.  That is the one that I am putting forward and I think there is a very little chance of implementing it in America for the next few years not all my home country [Australia] because we still think we are doing brilliantly and all that. But, I think at some stage in Europe, and possibly in a very short time frame, that idea might be considered.

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Fine Print: The Real Story on the “$25 Billion” Multistate Settlement

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One of the things I heard from a high ranking official in state government is that only a tiny fraction of the “settlement” is translating into actual dollars from the banks to anyone. In Arizona the $1.3 billion is subject to an “earn-down” as it was described to me and the net amount turned out to be $97 million and then on the website for the attorney general of the state, the $97 million became $47 million.

So I brought up my calculator and discovered that out of the “settlement” the banks were paying themselves around $1.2 billion out of the $1.3 billion (some say it is $1.6 billion, but the net left for the state remains unchanged at $97 million) and that some of the balance of the money is “unaccounted for.” By the way this has NOTHING to do with the Arizona Department of Housing, which is as close to non-political as you can get in any government.

So in plain language, the banks are taking money from their left pocket and putting int heir right pocket and saying it was a deal. This sounds a lot like the fake claims of securitization and assignment of debt on housing, student loans, credit cards, auto loans etc. In the end, no money will move except a tiny percentage because since the banks are simply paying themselves out of their own money how bad can the accounting be for them?

In Arizona, the legislature decided, as per the terms of the “settlement” to take the money and use it as part of general operating funds leaving distressed homeowners with nothing. So now there is something of an uproar in Arizona. Here is a $1.3 billion settlement that could have reversed a downward economic spiral for the state that will be felt for decades, and we end up with only 7% of that figure and then at least half, if not all of that is being taken for uses other than homeowner relief that is essential for economic recovery.

My guess is that they will say they are stopping the move to use the homeowner relief funds for perks to corporate donors and then quietly go out and do it anyway. What is your guess?

——————————————–

By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services

State officials agreed Tuesday to delay the transfer of $50 million of disputed mortgage settlement funds, at least for the time being.

Assistant Attorney General David Weinzweig made the offer during a hearing where challengers were hoping to get a court order blocking the move while its legality is being decided by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Mark Brain. Attorney Tim Hogan of the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, who represents those opposed to the transfer, readily agreed.

“You don’t want to rush the judge,” said Hogan, whose clients are people he believes would be helped by the funds.

“You want him to take his time on important questions like this,” Hogan said. “And so it’s reasonable to agree not to transfer the funds for a certain period of time to give the judge the opportunity to do that.”

The move sets the stage for a hearing in August on the merits of the issue.

Weinzweig told Brain he believes the transfer, ordered by state lawmakers earlier this year, is legal. Anyway, he said, Hogan’s clients have no legal standing to challenge what the Legislature did.

The fight surrounds a $26 billion nationwide settlement with five major lenders who were accused of mortgage fraud.

Arizona’s share is about $1.6 billion, with virtually all of that earmarked for direct aid to those who are “under water” on their mortgages — owing more than their property is worth — or have already been forced out of their homes.

But the deal also provided $97 million directly to the state Attorney General’s Office. The terms of that pact said the cash was supposed to help others with mortgage problems as well as investigate and prosecute fraud.

Lawmakers, however, seized on language which also said the money can be used to compensate the state for the effects of the lenders’ actions. They said the result of the mortgage crisis was lower state revenues, giving them permission to take $50 million from the settlement to balance the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Hogan’s suit is based on his contention that the settlement terms put the entire $97 million in trust and makes Attorney General Tom Horne, who was authorized by state law to sign the deal, responsible for ensuring the cash is properly spent.

Horne urged lawmakers not to take the funds. But once the budget deal was done, he went along and took the position that, regardless of whether the cash could have been better spent elsewhere, the transfer demand is legal.

Whatever Brain rules is likely to be appealed.

The challenge was brought on behalf of two people who would benefit by the state having more money to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. The lawsuit said both are currently “at risk” of losing their homes.

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State Programs with Real Money Going Unused

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Millions for Principal Reduction and Moving Expenses and No Applicants

Editor’s Comment: 

I had the pleasure of listening last night to Michael Trailor, the Director of the Arizona Department of Housing. It was like a breath of fresh air. He was a home builder for decades and when the market crashed he went into this obscure post of this obscure state agency that turns out to have its counterparts in many if not all states. Each of these agencies has received money and authority to help homeowners and they are willing to pay down principal reductions, buy the loans and then modify and pay for moving expenses in short sales and other events.

Trailor is a plain-speaking non-politician who tells it like it is. His agency has programs based upon the premise that principal reduction is the only thing that works and he has working relationships with some small banks where his agency literally pays the principal down while the Bank shares in that loss. The small banks see the sense in it. He can’t get cooperation from the big banks and servicers.

In the meeting at Darrell Blomberg’s Tuesday Strategist presentation (every week at Macayo’s restaurant in downtown Phoenix), we heard straight talk and we heard about a number of programs that I had advocated before Trailor became director. My suggestions fell on deaf ears. Trailor’s programs are of the same variety and creativity with the objective of saving the Arizona economy from destruction.

He reported that three states got together under the same program to make the offer of sharing the reduction of principal because the banks said that Arizona was not big enough on its own to motivate the banks to participate in the program. So he got three states — Arizona, California and Nevada. The banks did the old familiar two-step with him and his counterparts in the other states and essentially refused to pparticipate. Every borrower knows that two-step by heart.

I made some suggestions for programs that could be introduced in bankruptcy court, where the power of the Banks is much less. Right now if they don’t want to modify the loan, they can’t be forced. If they don’t want to SELL the loan and then modify it as the beneficiary or mortgagee, the mega bank can and does say no (while the small bank can and does say yes).

That’s right. His agency said they would buy the loan from the bank for 100 cents on the dollar, and then modify the loan the principal and payments to something the borrower could afford and that would not lead to future foreclosures (the fate of practically all modifications). The mega banks killed the idea. Don’t you wonder why banks would contrary to the interest of a ‘lender” who can minimize their losses with government money that has already been allocated but is not yet spent?

This is exactly what I predicted back in 2008. The small banks agree because it is the smart thing to do and THEY are actually owed the money. The mega banks refuse to go along with the deal because hanging on the now invisible and non-existent trunk of an existing debt-tree are hundreds of branches of swaps, insurance and credit enhancements upon which Wall Street has made and is continuing to make billions of dollars in “trading profits” at the expense of the investors and to the detriment of the homeowners.

In other words, they sold the loan multiple times — up to 40 times as I read the data. So hanging on your $200,000 loan could be as much as $8 MILLION in derivatives, swaps etc. That could mean $8 million in claims on the proceeds of sale of the obligation or note or satisfaction of the note or obligation.

Here is my suggestion for those homeowners’ attorneys that have started a bankruptcy proceeding. Where the so-called creditor has sent out a notice of sale and has filed a motion to lift the automatic stay, apply for assistance from the Arizona Department of Housing or whatever the equivalent is in your state. If the agency agrees to assist in refinancing or buying the loan so the homeowner can stay and pay, then the bank would need to explain the basis on which they are responding negatively. After all they are being offered 100 cents on the dollar — why isn’t that enough?

Make sure you notify the Trustee and Court of the pending application made to the agency and don’t use it in a silly fashion promising things that the agency will not corroborate.

I believe that Trailor’s agency and his counterparts would respond with some program that would essentially be an offer to the supposed creditor — provided that the true creditor steps forward and can prove that they are the actual party to whom the money from the homeowner’s obligation is owed. Darrell and I are starting talks with Trailor’s agency to get specific programs that will work in bankruptcy court and maybe other situations.

Once the Notice of Sale is sent,  the “creditor” has committed itself to selling. How can they turn around and say no when they are being offered the full amount? In that court, once the “lender” has committed to selling the property they can hardly say they don’t want to sell the loan — especially if they are receiving 100 cents on the dollar. The offer would be accepted by the Trustee, I am fairly certain, and the Judge since there really is no choice.

Now here is where the fun begins. The Judge would agree as would the U.S. Trustee that only the party to whom the money is owed can get the money. Some of you might recall my frequent diatribes about who can submit a credit bid — only the actual creditor to whom the original loan is now owed or an authorized representative who submits the bid on behalf of THAT creditor.

So assuming the Trustee and Judge agree that the “creditor” who filed the Motion to Lift Stay MUST sell the loan or release it upon receiving full payment, then they are stuck with coming up with the real creditor, which is going to be impossible in many cases, difficult in virtually all other cases. Trailor is sitting on hundreds of millions of dollars to help homeowners and he can’t use it because nobody will play ball under circumstances that he “naively” thought would be a no-brainer.

For those versed in bankruptcy you know the rest. The “lender” must admit that it is not the lender, that is has no authority to represent the creditor, that it doesn’t know who the creditor is or even if one still exists. The mortgage can be attacked as not being a perfected lien on the property and the obligation is wiped out or reduced by the  final order entered in the bankruptcy court.

Now the banks and servicers are going to fight this one tooth and nail because while the loan might be $200,000, there is an average of around $4 million in derivatives and exotic credit enhancements hanging on this loan. If it is paid off, then all accounts must settle. There are going to be gains and losses, but the net effect might well be that the bank “Sold” the loan 20 times. And the best part of it is that you don’t need t prove the theft. If will simply emerge from the failure of the “lender” to conform with the order of the court approving the deal. 

This is a classic case of the scam used in the “The Producers” which has been done on Broadway and movies. You sell 10,000% of a show you know MUST fail. They select “Springtime for Hitler” right after World War II and expect it to crash. After all it is musical comedy. But the show is a spectacular success. So whereas the news of the show’s closing would have sent investors to their accountants to write it off for tax purposes, now they were all clamoring for an accounting for their share of the profits. Since the producers had sold the show 100 times over it was impossible to pay the investors and they went to jail.

THAT is the problem here. It is only if the show closes with a foreclosure that the investors will not ask for the accounting. If the show succeeds (the loan is paid off) then all the investors will want their share of the payments that are due — unless they had the misfortune of taking the wrong side of a “bet” that the loan would fail. Not many investors did that. But the investment banks that sold the show (the loan) many times over used those bets as a way of selling the show over and over again.

If I’m lying I’m dying. That is what is happening and when people realize that as homeowners they are sitting on leverage worth 20 times their loan and they use it against the banks and servicers, they will get some very nice results. Agencies like Arizona’s Department of Housing can save the day like the cavalry just by making the offer and getting a judge to enforce it and watch in merriment how the “lenders” insist that they don’t want the payment and they can’t be forced to take it. That is what happens  when you turn the conventional and reasonable lending model on its head.

So now the banks and servicers must come up with a whole new set of fabricated, forged and fraudulent documents in which the investors assigned their interest in the obligation or note or mortgage to some other entity that is now the “creditor” — but the question that will be asked by every Trustee and Judge in bankruptcy court “who paid for this, how much did they pay, and how do we know a transaction actually happened.” That is the problem with a VIRTUAL TRANSACTION. At some point, like every PONZI scheme, the house of cards falls down.

Check with Arizona Department of Housing

Of course if you are not in Arizona check with the equivalent agency in your state. Chances are they have hundreds of millions of dollars and no place to spend it for homeowners because the banks won’t agree to no-brainer solutions that any bank can and does accept if they were playing the “Securitization game.” Don’t expect the agency to march into court and save the day. The agency is not going to litigate your case for you. But they probably will give you plenty of support and encouragement and offers of real money to end this nightmare of foreclosures. You must do the work, fill out applications and get the process underway before you can go to the court with a motion that says we have a settlement vehicle pending with a state agency and you can prove it is true.

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How the Servicers and Investment Banks Cheat Investors and Homeowners

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Master Servicers and Subservicers Maintain Fictitious Obligations

Editor’s Comment: 

This article really is about why discovery and access to the information held by the Master Servicer and subservicer, investment bank and Trustee for the REMIC (“Trust”) is so important. Without an actual accounting, you could be paying on a debt that does not exist or has been extinguished in bankruptcy because it was unsecured. In fact, if it was extinguished in bankruptcy, giving them the house or payment might even be improper. Pressing on the points made in this article in order to get full rights in discovery (interrogatories, admissions and production) will yield the most beneficial results.

Michael Olenick (creator of FindtheFraud) on Naked Capitalism gets a lot of things right in the article below. The most right is that servicers are lying and cheating investors in addition to cheating homeowners.

The subservicer is the one the public knows. They are the ones that collect payments from the “borrower” who is the homeowner. In reality, they have no right to collect anything from the homeowner because they were appointed as servicer by a party who is not a creditor and has no authority to act as agent for the creditor. They COULD have had that authority if the securitization chain was real, but it isn’t.

Then you have the Master Servicers who are and should be called the Master of Ceremonies. But the Master Servicer is basically a controlled entity of the investment bank, which is why everyone is so pissed — these banks are making money and getting credit while the rest of us can’t operate businesses, can’t get a job, and can’t get credit for small and medium sized businesses.

Cheating at the subservicer level, even if they were authorized to take payments, starts with the fees they charge against the account, especially if it becomes (delinquent” or in “default” or “Nonperforming.” At the same time they are telling the investors that the loan is a performing loan and they are making payments somewhere in the direction of the investors (we don’t actually know how much of that payment actually gets received by investors), they are also declaring defaults and initiating a foreclosure.

What they are not reporting is that they don’t have the paperwork on the loan, and that the value of the portfolio is either simply over-stated, which is bad enough, or that the portfolio is worthless, which of course is worse. Meanwhile the pension fund managers do not realize that they are sitting on assets that may well have a negative value and if they don’t handle the situation properly, they might be assessed for the negative value.

It gets even worse. Since the money and the loans were not handled, paid or otherwise organized in the manner provided in the pooling and servicing agreement and prospectus, the SPV (“Trust”) does not exist and has no assets in it — but it might have some teeth that could bite the hand that fed the banks. If the REMIC was not created and the trust was not created or funded, then the investors who in fact DID put up money are in a common law general partnership. And since the Credit Default Swaps were traded using the name of  entities that identified groups of investors, the investors might be hit with an assessment to cover a loss that the “pool” can’t cover because they only have a general partnership created under common law. Their intention to enter into a deal where there was (a) preferential tax status (REMIC) and (b) limited liability would both fall apart. And that is exactly what happened.

The flip side is that the credit default swaps, insurance, credit enhancements, and so forth could have and in most cases did produce a surplus, which the banks claimed as solely their own, but which in fact should have at least been allocated to the investors up to the point of the liability to them (i.e., the money taken from them by the investment bank).

AND THAT is why borrowers should be very interested in having the investors get their money back from the trading, wheeling and dealing made with the use of the investors’ money. Think about it. The investors gave up their money for funding mortgages and yours was one of the mortgages funded. But the vehicle that was used was not a simple  one. The money taken from the investors was owed by the REMIC in whose name the trading in the secret derivative market occurred.

Now think a little bit more. If the investors get their rightful share of the money made from the swaps and insurance and credit enhancements, then the liability is satisfied — i.e., the investor got their money back with interest just like they were expecting.

But, and here is the big one, if the investor did get paid (as many have been under the table or as part of more complex deals) then the obligation to them has been satisfied in full. That would mean by definition that the obligation from anyone else on repayment to the investor was extinguished or transferred to another party. Since the money was funded from investor to homeowner, the homeowner therefore does not owe the investor any money (not any more, anyway, because the investor has been paid in full). The only valid transfer would be FROM the REMIC partnership not TO it. But the fabricated, forged and fraudulent documents are all about transferring the loan TO the REMIC that was never formed and never funded.

It is possible that another party may be a successor to the homeowner’s obligation to the investor. But there are prerequisites to that happening. First of all we know that the obligation of the homeowner to the investor was not secured because there was no agreement or written instrument of any kind in which the investor and the borrower both signed and which set forth terms that were disclosed to both parties and were the subject of an agreement, much less a mortgage naming the investor. That is why the MERS trick was played with stating the servicer as the investor. That implies agency (which doesn’t really exist).

Second we know that the SWAPS and the insurance were specifically written with expressly worded such that AIG, MBIA etc. each waived their right to get payment from the borrower homeowner even though they were paying the bill.

Third we know that most payments were made by SWAPS, insurance and the Federal Reserve deals, in which the Fed also did not want to get involved in enforcing debts against homeowners and that is why the Federal Reserve has never been named as the creditor even though they in fact, would be the creditor because they have paid 100 cents on the dollar to the investment bank who did NOT allocate that money to the investors.

Since they did not allocate that money to the investors, as servicers (subservicer and Master Servicer), they also did not allocate the payment against the homeowner borrower’s debt. If they did that, they would be admitting what we already know — that the debt from homeowner to investor has been extinguished, which means that all those other credit swaps, insurance and enhancements that are STILL IN PLAY, would collapse. That is what is happening in our own cities, towns, counties and states and what is happening in Europe. It is only by keeping what is now only a virtual debt alive in appearance that the banks continue to make money on the Swaps and other exotic instruments. But it is like a tree without the main trunk. We have only branches left. Eventually in must fall, like any other Ponzi scheme or House of Cards.

So by cheating the investors, and thus cheating the borrowers, they also cheated the Federal Reserve, the taxpayers and European banks based upon a debt that once existed but has long since been extinguished. If you waded through the above (you might need to read it more than once), then you can see that your  feeling, deep down inside that you owe this money, is wrong. You can see that the perception that the obligation was tied to a perfected mortgage lien on the property was equally wrong. And that we now have $700 trillion in nominal value of derivatives that has at least one-third in need of mark-down to zero. The admission of this inescapable point would immediately produce the result that Simon Johnson and others so desperately want for economic reasons and that the rest of us want for political reasons — the break-up of banks that are broken. Only then will the market begin to function as a more or less free trading market.

How Servicers Lie to Mortgage Investors About Losses

By Michael Olenick

A post last week reviewed a botched foreclosure for a mortgage loan in Ace Securities Home Equity Loan Trust 2007-HE4 dismissed with prejudice, meaning that the foreclosure cannot be refilled; a total loss for investors. Next, we reviewed why the trust has not yet recorded the loss despite the six month old verdict.

As an experiment, I gave my six year-old daughter four quarters. She just learned how to add coins so this pleased her. Then I told her I would take some number of quarters back, and asked her how many I should take. Her first response was one – smart kid – then she changed her mind to two, because we’d each have two and that’s the most “fair.” Having mastered the notion of loss mitigation and fairness, and because it’s not nice to torture six year-old children with experiments in economics, I allowed her to keep all four.

When presented with a similar question – whether to take a partial loss via a short-sale or principal reduction, or whether to take a larger loss through foreclosure – the servicers of ACE2007-HE4 repeatedly opt for the larger losses. While the dismissal with prejudice for the Guerrero house is an unusual, the enormous write-off it comes with through failure to mitigate a breach – to keep overall damages as low as possible – is common. When we look more closely at the trust, we see the servicer again and again, either through self-dealing or laziness, taking actions that increase losses to investors. And this occurs even though the contract that created the securitization, a pooling and servicing agreement, requires the servicer to service the loans in the best interest of the investors.

Let’s examine some recent loss statistics from ACE2007-HE4. In May, 2012 there were 15 houses written-off, with an average loss severity of 77%. Exactly one was below 50% and one, in Gary, IN, was 145%; the ACE investors lent $65,100 to a borrower with a FICO score of 568 then predictably managed to lose $94,096. In April, there were 23 homes lost, with an average loss severity of 82%, three below 50%, though one at 132%, money lent to a borrower with an original FICO score of 588.

Of course, those are the loans with finished foreclosures. There are 65 loans where borrowers missed at least four consecutive payments in the last year with yet there is no active foreclosure. Among those are a loan for $593,600 in Allendale, NJ, where the borrower has not made a payment in about four years, though they have been in and out of foreclosure a few times during that period. It’s not just the judicial foreclosure states; a $350,001 loan in Compton, CA also hasn’t made a payment in over a year and there is no pending foreclosure.

There is every reason to think the losses will be higher for these zombie borrowers than on the recent foreclosures. First, every month a borrower does not pay the servicer pays the trust anyway, though the servicer is then reimbursed the next month, mainly from payments of other borrowers still paying. This depletes the good loans in the trust, so that the trust will eventually run out of money leaving investors holding an empty bag. And on top of that, when the foreclosure eventually occurs, the servicer also reimburses himself for all sorts of fees, late fees, the regular servicing fee, broker price opinions, etc. Longer times in foreclosure mean more fees to servicers. Second, the odds are decent that the servicers are holding off on foreclosing on these homes because the losses are expected to be particularly high. Why would servicers delay in these cases? Perhaps because they own a portfolio of second mortgages. More sales of real estate that wipe out second liens would make it harder for them to justify the marks on those loans that they are reporting to investors and regulators. Revealing how depressed certain real estate markets were if shadow inventory were released would have the same effect.

These loans will eventually end up either modified or foreclosed upon, but either way there will be substantial losses to the trust that have not been accounted for. Of course, this assumes that the codes and status fields are accurate; in the case of the Guerreros’ loan the write-off – with legal fees for the fancy lawyers who can’t figure out why assignments are needed to the trust – is likely to be enormous. How much? Nobody except Ocwen knows, and they’re not saying.

Knowing that an estimated loss of 77%, is if anything an optimistic figure, even before we get to the unreported losses on the Guerrero loan, it seems difficult to understand why Ocwen wouldn’t first try loss mitigation that results in a lower loss severity. If they wrote-off half the principal of the loan, and decreased interest payments to nothing, they’d come out ahead.

Servicers give lip service to the notion that foreclosure is an option of last resort but, only when recognizing losses, do their words seem to sync with their behavior. But it’s all about the incentives: servicers get paid to foreclose and they heap fees on zombie borrowers, but even with all sorts of HAMP incentives, they don’t feel they get paid enough to do the work to do modifications. Servicers are reimbursed for the principal and interest they advance, the over-priced “forced placed insurance” that costs much more and pays out much less than regular insurance, “inspections” that sometimes involve goons kicking in doors before a person can answer, high-priced lawyers who can’t figure out why an assignment is needed to bind a property to a trust, and a plethora of other garbage fees. They’re like a frat-boy with dad’s credit-card, and a determination to make the best of it while dad is still solvent.

Despite the Obama campaign promise to bring transparency to government and financial markets, the investors in trusts remain largely unknown, so we’re not sure who bears the brunt of the cost of Ocwen’s incompetence in loss mitigation (to be fair Ocwen is not atypical; most servicers are atrocious). But, ACE2007-HE4 has a few unique attributes allowing us to guess who is affected.

ACE2007-HE4 is named in a lawsuit filed by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which has sued ACE, trustee Deutsche Bank, and a few others citing material misrepresentations in the prospectus of this trust. As pointed out in the prior article, both the Guerreros’ first and second loans were bundled into the same trust – so there were definitely problems – though the FHFA does not seem to address that in their lawsuit.

With respect to ACE2007-HE4, the FHFA highlights an investigation by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), which found that Deutsche Bank “‘continued to refer customers to its prospectus materials to the erroneous [delinquency] data’”even after it ‘became aware that the static pool information underreported historical delinquency rates.”

The verbiage within the July 16, 2010 FINRA action is more succinct: “… investors in these 16 subsequent RMBS securitizations were, and continue to be, unaware that some of the static pool information .. contains inaccurate historical data which underreported delinquencies.” FINRA allowed Deutsche Bank to pay a $7.5 million fine without either admitting or denying the findings, and agreed never to bring another action “based on the same factual findings described herein.”

Despite the finding and the fine, FINRA apparently forgot to order Deutsche Bank to knock off the conduct, and since FINRA did not reserve the right to circle back for a compliance check maybe Deutsche Bank has the right to produce loss reports showing whatever they wish to.

It is unlikely that Deutsche Bank had trouble paying their $7.5 million fine since the trust included an interest swap agreement that worked out pretty well for them. Note that these swap agreements were a common feature of post 2004 RMBS. Originators used to retain the equity tranche, which was unrated. When a deal worked out, that was nicely profitable because the equity tranche would get the benefit of loss cushions (overcollateralization and excess spread). Deal packagers got clever and devised so-called “net interest margin” bonds which allowed investors to get the benefit of the entire excess spread for a loan pool. The swaps were structured to provide a minimum amount of excess spread under the most likely scenarios. But no one anticipated 0% interest rates.

From May, 2007, when the trust was issued, to Oct., 2007, neither party paid one another. In Nov., 2007, Deutsche Bank paid the trust $175,759.04. Over the next 53 months that the swap agreement remained in effect the trust paid Deutsche Bank $65,122,194.92, a net profit of $64,946,435.88. Given that Deutsche traders were handing out t-shirts reading “I’m Short Your House” when this trust was created, I can see why they’d bet against steep interest rates over the next five years, as the Federal Reserve moved to mitigate the economic fallout of their mischievousness with low interest rates.

In any event, getting back to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the FHFA does not disclose which), one of the GSEs purchased $224,129,000 of tranche A1 at par; they paid full freight for this fiasco. Since this trust is structured so that losses are born equally by all A-level tranches once the mezzanine level tranches are destroyed by losses, which they have been, to find the party taking the inflated losses you just need to look in the nearest mirror. Fannie and Freddie are, of course, wards of the state so it is the American taxpayer that gets to pay out the windfall to the Germans. In this we’re like Greece, albeit with lousier beaches and the ability to print more money.

If the mess with the FHFA and FINRA were not enough, ACE2007-HE4 is also an element in the second 2007 Markit index, ABX.HE.AAA.07-2, a basket of tranches of subprime trusts that – taken as a whole – show the overall health of all similar securities. This is akin to being one of the Dow-Jones companies, where a company has its own stock price but that price also affects an overall index that people place bets on. Tranche A-2D, the lowest A-tranche, is one of the twenty trusts in the index. Since ACE2007-HE4 is structured so that all A-tranches wither and die together once the mezzanine level tranches are destroyed it has the potential to weigh in on the rest of the index. Therefore, the reporting mess – already known to both the FHFA and FINRA – stands to be greatly magnified.

The problems with this trust are numerous, and at every turn, the parties that could have intervened to ameliorate the situation failed to take adequate measures.

First there is the botched securitization, where a first and second lien ended up in the same trust. Then, there is failure to engage in loss mitigation, with the result that refusing to accept the Guerrero’s short-sale offers or pleas for a modification, resulting in a more than 100% loss. Next, there is defective record-keeping related to that deficiency and others like it. And the bad practices ensnarled Fannie /Freddie when they purchased almost a quarter billion dollars of exposure to these loans. Then there’s the mismanaged prosecution by FINRA, where they did not require ongoing compliance, monitoring, or increasing fines for non-compliance. There’s the muffed FHFA lawsuit, where the FHFA did not notice either the depth of the fraud, namely two loans for the same property in the same trust, and that the reporting fraud they cited continues. I’m not sure if the swap agreement was botched, but you’d think FINRA and the FHFA would and should do almost anything to dissolve it while it was paying out massive checks every month. Finally, returning full circle, there’s the fouled up foreclosure that the borrowers fought only because negotiations failed that resulted in a the trust taking a total loss on the mortgage plus paying serious legal fees.

It is an understatement to say this does not inspire confidence in any public official, except Judge Williams, the only government official with the common sense to lose patience with scoundrels. We’d almost be better off without regulators than with the batch we’ve seen at work.

US taxpayers would have received more benefit by burning dollar bills in the Capitol’s furnace to heat the building than we received from bailing out Fannie, Freddie, Deutsche Bank, Ocwen, and the various other smaller leaches attached to the udder of public funds. We could and should have allowed the “free market” they worship to work its magic, sending them to their doom years ago. That would have left investors in a world-o-hurt but, in hindsight, that’s where they’re ending up anyway with no money left to fix the fallout. It is long past time public policy makers did something substantive to rein in these charlatans.

My six year-old daughter understands the concept of limiting losses to the minimum, and apportionment of those losses in the name of fairness. Maybe Tim Geithner should take a lesson from her about this “unfortunate” series of events, quoting Judge Williams, before wasting any more money that my daughter will eventually have to repay.

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Editor’s Comment:

When I first suggested that securitization itself was a lie, my comments were greeted with disbelief and derision. No matter. When I see something I call it the way it is. The loans never left the launch pad, much less flew into a waiting pool of investor money. The whole thing was a scam and AG Biden of Đelaware and Schniedermann of New York are on to it.

The tip of the iceberg is that the note was not delivered to the investors. The gravitas of the situation is that the investors were never intended to get the note, the mortgage or any documentation except a check and a distribution report. The game was on.

First they (the investment banks) took money from the investors on the false pretenses that the bonds were real when anyone with 6 months experience on Wall street could tell you this was not a bond for lots of reasons, the most basic of which was that there was no borrower. The prospectus had no loans because there were no loans made yet. The banks certainly wouldn’ t take the risks posed by this toxic heap of loans, so they were waiting for the investors to get conned. Once they had the money then they figured out how to keep as much of it as possible before even looking for residential home borrowers. 

None of the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code on REMICS were followed, nor were the requirements of the pooling and servicing agreement. The facts are simple: the document trail as written never followed the actual trail of actual transactions in which money exchanged hands. And this was simply because the loan money came from the investors apart from the document trail. The actual transaction between homeowner borrower and investor lender was UNDOCUMENTED. And the actual trail of documents used in foreclosures all contain declarations of fact concerning transactions that never happened. 

The note is “evidence” of the debt, not the debt itself. If the investor lender loaned money to the homeowner borrower and neither one of them signed a single document acknowledging that transaction, there is still an obligation. The money from the investor lender is still a loan and even without documentation it is a loan that must be repaid. That bit of legal conclusion comes from common law. 

So if the note itself refers to a transaction in which ABC Lending loaned the money to the homeowner borrower it is referring to a transaction that does not now nor did it ever exist. That note is evidence of an obligation that does not exist. That note refers to a transaction that never happened. ABC Lending never loaned the homeowner borrower any money. And the terms of repayment intended by the securitization documents were never revealed to the homeowner buyer. Therefore the note with ABC Lending is evidence of a non-existent transaction that mistates the terms of repayment by leaving out the terms by which the investor lender would be repaid.

Thus the note is evidence of nothing and the mortgage securing the terms of the note is equally invalid. So the investors are suing the banks for leaving the lenders in the position of having an unsecured debt wherein even if they had collateral it would be declining in value like a stone dropping to the earth.

And as for why banks who knew better did it this way — follow the money. First they took an undisclosed yield spread premium out of the investor lender money. They squirreled most of that money through Bermuda which ” asserted” jurisdiction of the transaction for tax purposes and then waived the taxes. Then the bankers created false entities and “pools” that had nothing in them. Then the bankers took what was left of the investor lender money and funded loans upon request without any underwriting.

Then the bankers claimed they were losing money on defaults when the loss was that of the investor lenders. To add insult to injury the bankers had used some of the investor lender money to buy insurance, credit default swaps and create other credit enhancements where they — not the investor lender —- were the beneficiary of a payoff based on the default of mortgages or an “event” in which the nonexistent pool had to be marked down in value. When did that markdown occur? Only when the wholly owned wholly controlled subsidiary of the investment banker said so, speaking as the ” master servicer.”

So the truth is that the insurers and counterparties on CDS paid the bankers instead of the investor lenders. The same thing happened with the taxpayer bailout. The claims of bank losses were fake. Everyone lost money except, of course, the bankers.

So who owns the loan? The investor lenders. Who owns the note? Who cares, it was worth less when they started; but if anyone owns it it is most probably the originating “lender” ABC Lending. Who owns the mortgage? There is no mortgage. The mortgage agreement was written and executed by the borrower securing terms of payment that were neither disclosed nor real.

Bank Loan Bundling Investigated by Biden-Schneiderman: Mortgages

By David McLaughlin

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Delaware’s Beau Biden are investigating banks for failing to package mortgages into bonds as advertised to investors, three months after a group of lenders struck a nationwide $25 billion settlement over foreclosure practices.

The states are pursuing allegations that some home loans weren’t correctly transferred into securitizations, undermining investors’ stakes in the mortgages, according to two people with knowledge of the probes. They’re also concerned about improper foreclosures on homeowners as result, said the people, who declined to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. The probes prolong the fallout from the six-year housing bust that’s cost Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and other lenders more than $72 billion because of poor underwriting and shoddy foreclosures. It may also give ammunition to bondholders suing banks, said Isaac Gradman, an attorney and managing member of IMG Enterprises LLC, a mortgage-backed securities consulting firm.

“The attorneys general could create a lot of problems for the banks and for the trustees and for bondholders,” Gradman said. “I can’t imagine a better securities law claim than to say that you represented that these were mortgage-backed securities when in fact they were backed by nothing.”

Countrywide Faulted

Schneiderman said Bank of America Corp. (BAC)’s Countrywide Financial unit last year made errors in the way it packaged home loans into bonds, while investors have sued trustee banks, saying documentation lapses during mortgage securitizations can impair their ability to recover losses when homeowners default. Schneiderman didn’t sue Bank of America in connection with that criticism.

The Justice Department in January said it formed a group of federal officials and state attorneys general to investigate misconduct in the bundling of mortgage loans into securities. Schneiderman is co-chairman with officials from the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The next month, five mortgage servicers — Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), Citigroup Inc. (C), JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Ally Financial Inc. (ALLY) — reached a $25 billion settlement with federal officials and 49 states. The deal pays for mortgage relief for homeowners while settling claims against the servicers over foreclosure abuses. It didn’t resolve all claims, leaving the lenders exposed to further investigations into their mortgage operations by state and federal officials.

Top Issuers

The New York and Delaware probes involve banks that assembled the securities and firms that act as trustees on behalf of investors in the debt, said one of the people and a third person familiar with the matter.

The top issuers of mortgage securities without government backing in 2005 included Bank of America’s Countrywide Financial unit, GMAC, Bear Stearns Cos. and Washington Mutual, according to trade publication Inside MBS & ABS. Total volume for the top 10 issuers was $672 billion. JPMorgan acquired Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual in 2008.

The sale of mortgages into the trusts that pool loans may be void if banks didn’t follow strict requirements for such transfers, Biden said in a lawsuit filed last year over a national mortgage database used by banks. The requirements for transferring documents were “frequently not complied with” and likely led to the failure to properly transfer loans “on a large scale,” Biden said in the complaint.

“Most of this was done under the cover of darkness and anything that shines a light on these practices is going to be good for investors,” Talcott Franklin, an attorney whose firm represents mortgage-bond investors, said about the state probes.

Critical to Investors

Proper document transfers are critical to investors because if there are defects, the trusts, which act on behalf of investors, can’t foreclose on borrowers when they default, leading to losses, said Beth Kaswan, an attorney whose firm, Scott + Scott LLP, represents pension funds that have sued Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (BK) and US Bancorp as bond trustees. The banks are accused of failing in their job to review loan files for missing and incomplete documents and ensure any problems were corrected, according to court filings.

“You have very significant losses in the trusts and very high delinquencies and foreclosures, and when you attempt to foreclose you can’t collect,” Kaswan said.

Laurence Platt, an attorney at K&L Gates LLP in Washington, disagreed that widespread problems exist with document transfers in securitization transactions that have impaired investors’ interests in mortgages.

“There may be loan-level issues but there aren’t massive pattern and practice problems,” he said. “And even when there are potential loan-level issues, you have to look at state law because not all states require the same documents.”

Fixing Defects

Missing documents don’t have to prevent trusts from foreclosing on homes because the paperwork may not be necessary, according to Platt. Defects in the required documents can be fixed in some circumstances, he said. For example, a missing promissory note, in which a borrower commits to repay a loan, may not derail the process because there are laws governing lost notes that allow a lender to proceed with a foreclosure, he said.

A review by federal bank regulators last year found that mortgage servicers “generally had sufficient documentation” to demonstrate authority to foreclose on homes.

Schneiderman said in court papers last year that Countrywide failed to transfer complete loan documentation to trusts. BNY Mellon, the trustee for bondholders, misled investors to believe Countrywide had delivered complete files, the attorney general said.

Hindered Foreclosures

Errors in the transfer of documents “hampered” the ability of the trusts to foreclose and impaired the value of the securities backed by the loans, Schneiderman said.

“The failure to properly transfer possession of complete mortgage files has hindered numerous foreclosure proceedings and resulted in fraudulent activities,” the attorney general said in court documents.

Bank of America faced similar claims from Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, who accused the Charlotte, North Carolina-based lender of conducting foreclosures without authority in its role as mortgage servicer due improper document transfers. In an amended complaint last year, Masto said Countrywide failed to deliver original mortgage notes to the trusts or provided notes with defects.

The lawsuit was settled as part of the national foreclosure settlement, Masto spokeswoman Jennifer Lopez said.

Bank of America spokesman Rick Simon declined to comment about the claims made by states and investors. BNY Mellon performed its duties as defined in the agreements governing the securitizations, spokesman Kevin Heine said.

“We believe that claims against the trustee are based on a misunderstanding of the limited role of the trustee in mortgage securitizations,” he said.

Biden, in his complaint over mortgage database MERS, cites a foreclosure by Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) as trustee in which the promissory note wasn’t delivered to the bank as required under an agreement governing the securitization. The office is concerned that such errors led to foreclosures by banks that lacked authority to seize homes, one of the people said.

Renee Calabro, spokeswoman for Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank, declined to comment.

Investors have raised similar claims against banks. The Oklahoma Police Pension and Retirement System last year sued U.S. Bancorp as trustee for mortgage bonds sold by Bear Stearns. The bank “regularly disregarded” its duty as trustee to review loan files to ensure there were no missing or defective documents transferred to the trusts. The bank’s actions caused millions of dollars in losses on securities “that were not, in fact, legally collateralized by mortgage loans,” according to an amended complaint.

“Bondholders could have serious claims on their hands,” said Gradman. “You’re going to suffer a loss as bondholder if you can’t foreclose, if you can’t liquidate that property and recoup.”

Teri Charest, a spokeswoman for Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp (USB), said the bank isn’t liable and doesn’t know if any party is at fault in the structuring or administration of the transactions.

“If there was fault, this unhappy investor is seeking recompense from the wrong party,” she said. “We were not the sponsor, underwriter, custodian, servicer or administrator of this transaction.”

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EDITOR’S COMMENT: Attorneys for homeowners should watch these investor suits carefully. Contained within them are allegations and discovery relating to the enforceability of the mortgage liens as well as the failure to properly underwrite the loans.

The fact that the SEC is going after the banks on these issues is a good thing, but not unless it is referred for criminal prosecution. If our securities markets are subject to outright criminal fraud and we don’t do anything about the criminal aspect, we are sending the wrong signal out to the rest of the world which already views our mortgage debacle as a virtual attack on the sovereignty of dozens of countries.

If we want to see our credit markets revive and our economy, we will need to make investors feel certain that the regulatory environment and law enforcement are working together to bring criminal masterminds to justice. Anything short of that will result in a slow but rising attrition to anywhere but the U.S. credit markets.

Feb 8 (Reuters) – U.S. securities regulators plan to warn several major banks that they may sue them over the sale of bonds linked to sub-prime mortgages that ignited the financial crisis in 2008, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is looking at whether the banks misrepresented the poor quality of loan pools they bundled and sold to investors, the people told the Journal.

It was not clear which firms will receive the formal SEC enforcement warnings, known as “Wells notices”, the paper said.

Banks whose activities are being examined in the civil investigation include Ally Financial Inc, Bank of America Corp , Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs, the Journal said.

Ally Financial spokeswoman Gina Proia told Reuters that she could comment on the Journal report.

Representatives of the banks and SEC declined to comment, the Journal said.

None of the other parties could immediately be reached for comment by Reuters outside regular U.S. business hours.

Speaking at a news conference in January, SEC enforcement director Robert Khuzami said his agency already reviewed 25 million pages of documents on mortgage-related investigations.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, sued 17 large banks last September over losses on about $200 billion of subprime bonds and said the underlying mortgages did not meet investors’ criteria.

FRAUD: The Significance of the Game Changing FHFA Lawsuits

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FHFA ACCUSES BANKS OF FRAUD: THEY KNEW THEY WERE LYING

“FHFA has refrained from sugar coating the banks’ alleged conduct as mere inadvertence, negligence, or recklessness, as many plaintiffs have done thus far.  Instead, it has come right out and accused certain banks of out-and-out fraud.  In particular, FHFA has levied fraud claims against Countrywide (and BofA as successor-in-interest), Deutsche Bank, J.P. Morgan (including EMC, WaMu and Long Beach), Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch (including First Franklin as sponsor), and Morgan Stanley (including Credit Suisse as co-lead underwriter).  Besides showing that FHFA means business, these claims demonstrate that the agency has carefully reviewed the evidence before it and only wielded the sword of fraud against those banks that it felt actually were aware of their misrepresentations.”

It is no stretch to say that Friday, September 2 was the most significant day for mortgage crisis litigation since the onset of the crisis in 2007.  That Friday, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), as conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, sued almost all of the world’s largest banks in 17 separate lawsuits, covering mortgage backed securities with original principal balances of roughly $200 billion.  Unless you’ve been hiking in the Andes over the last two weeks, you have probably heard about these suits in the mainstream media.  But here at the Subprime Shakeout, I like to dig a bit deeper.  The following is my take on the most interesting aspects of these voluminous complaints (all available here) from a mortgage litigation perspective.

Throwing the Book at U.S. Banks

The first thing that jumps out to me is the tenacity and aggressiveness with which FHFA presents its cases.  In my last post (Number 1 development), I noted that FHFA had just sued UBS over $4.5 billion in MBS.  While I noted that this signaled a shift in Washington’s “too-big-to-fail” attitude towards banks, my biggest question was whether the agency would show the same tenacity in going after major U.S. banks.  Well, it’s safe to say the agency has shown the same tenacity and then some.

FHFA has refrained from sugar coating the banks’ alleged conduct as mere inadvertence, negligence, or recklessness, as many plaintiffs have done thus far.  Instead, it has come right out and accused certain banks of out-and-out fraud.  In particular, FHFA has levied fraud claims against Countrywide (and BofA as successor-in-interest), Deutsche Bank, J.P. Morgan (including EMC, WaMu and Long Beach), Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch (including First Franklin as sponsor), and Morgan Stanley (including Credit Suisse as co-lead underwriter).  Besides showing that FHFA means business, these claims demonstrate that the agency has carefully reviewed the evidence before it and only wielded the sword of fraud against those banks that it felt actually were aware of their misrepresentations.

Further, FHFA has essentially used every bit of evidence at its disposal to paint an exhaustive picture of reckless lending and misleading conduct by the banks.  To support its claims, FHFA has drawn from such diverse sources as its own loan reviews, investigations by the SEC, congressional testimony, and the evidence presented in other lawsuits (including the bond insurer suits that were also brought by Quinn Emanuel).  Finally, where appropriate, FHFA has included successor-in-interest claims against banks such as Bank of America (as successor to Countrywide but, interestingly, not to Merrill Lynch) and J.P. Morgan (as successor to Bear Stearns and WaMu), which acquired potential liability based on its acquisition of other lenders or issuers and which have tried and may in the future try to avoid accepting those liabilities.    In short, FHFA has thrown the book at many of the nation’s largest banks.

FHFA has also taken the virtually unprecedented step of issuing a second press release after the filing of its lawsuits, in which it responds to the “media coverage” the suits have garnered.  In particular, FHFA seeks to dispel the notion that the sophistication of the investor has any bearing on the outcome of securities law claims – something that spokespersons for defendant banks have frequently argued in public statements about MBS lawsuits.  I tend to agree that this factor is not something that courts should or will take into account under the express language of the securities laws.

The agency’s press release also responds to suggestions that these suits will destabilize banks and disrupt economic recovery.  To this, FHFA responds, “the long-term stability and resilience of the nation’s financial system depends on investors being able to trust that the securities sold in this country adhere to applicable laws. We cannot overlook compliance with such requirements during periods of economic difficulty as they form the foundation for our nation’s financial system.”  Amen.

This response to the destabilization argument mirrors statements made by Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.), both in a letter urging these suits before they were filed and in a conference call praising the suits after their filing.  In particular, Miller has said that failing to pursue these claims would be “tantamount to another bailout” and akin to an “indirect subsidy” to the banking industry.  I agree with these statements – of paramount importance in restarting the U.S. housing market is restoring investor confidence, and this means respecting contract rights and the rule of law.   If investors are stuck with a bill for which they did not bargain, they will be reluctant to invest in U.S. housing securities in the future, increasing the costs of homeownership for prospective homeowners and/or taxpayers.

You can find my recent analysis of Rep. Miller’s initial letter to FHFA here under Challenge No. 3.  The letter, which was sent in response to the proposed BofA/BoNY settlement of Countrywide put-back claims, appears to have had some influence.

Are Securities Claims the New Put-Backs?

The second thing that jumps out to me about these suits is that FHFA has entirely eschewed put-backs, or contractual claims, in favor of securities law, blue sky law, and tort claims.  This continues a trend that began with the FHLB lawsuits and continued through the recent filing by AIG of its $10 billion lawsuit against BofA/Countrywide of plaintiffs focusing on securities law claims when available.  Why are plaintiffs such as FHFA increasingly turning to securities law claims when put-backs would seem to benefit from more concrete evidence of liability?

One reason may be the procedural hurdles that investors face when pursuing rep and warranty put-backs or repurchases.  In general, they must have 25% of the voting rights for each deal on which they want to take action.  If they don’t have those rights on their own, they must band together with other bondholders to reach critical mass.  They must then petition the Trustee to take action.  If the Trustee refuses to help, the investor may then present repurchase demands on individual loans to the originator or issuer, but must provide that party with sufficient time to cure the defect or repurchase each loan before taking action.  Only if the investor overcomes these steps and the breaching party fails to cure or repurchase will the investor finally have standing to sue.

All of those steps notwithstanding, I have long argued that put-back claims are strong and valuable because once you overcome the initial procedural hurdles, it is a fairly straightforward task to prove whether an individual loan met or breached the proper underwriting guidelines and representations.  Recent statistical sampling rulings have also provided investors with a shortcut to establishing liability – instead of having to go loan-by-loan to prove that each challenged loan breached reps and warranties, investors may now use a statistically significant sample to establish the breach rate in an entire pool.

So, what led FHFA to abandon the put-back route in favor of filing securities law claims?  For one, the agency may not have 25% of the voting rights in all or even a majority of the deals in which it holds an interest.  And due to the unique status of the agency as conservator and the complex politics surrounding these lawsuits, it may not have wanted to band together with private investors to pursue its claims.

Another reason may be that the FHFA has had trouble obtaining loan files, as has been the case for many investors.  These files are usually necessary before even starting down the procedural path outlined above, and servicers have thus far been reluctant to turn these files over to investors.  But this is even less likely to be the limiting factor for FHFA.  With subpoena power that extends above and beyond that of the ordinary investor, the government agency may go directly to the servicers and demand these critical documents.  This they’ve already done, having sent 64 subpoenas to various market participants over a year ago.  While it’s not clear how much cooperation FHFA has received in this regard, the numerous references in its complaints to loan level reviews suggest that the agency has obtained a large number of loan files.  In fact, FHFA has stated that these lawsuits were the product of the subpoenas, so they must have uncovered a fair amount of valuable information.

Thus, the most likely reason for this shift in strategy is the advantage offered by the federal securities laws in terms of the available remedies.  With the put-back remedy, monetary damages are not available.  Instead, most Pooling and Servicing Agreements (PSAs) stipulate that the sole remedy for an incurable breach of reps and warranties is the repurchase or substitution of that defective loan.  Thus, any money shelled out by offending banks would flow into the Trust waterfall, to be divided amongst the bondholders based on seniority, rather than directly into the coffers of FHFA (and taxpayers).  Further, a plaintiff can only receive this remedy on the portion of loans it proves to be defective.  Thus, it cannot recover its losses on defaulted loans for which no defect can be shown.

In contrast, the securities law remedy provides the opportunity for a much broader recovery – and one that goes exclusively to the plaintiff (thus removing any potential freerider problems).  Should FHFA be able to prove that there was a material misrepresentation in a particular oral statement, offering document, or registration statement issued in connection with a Trust, it may be able to recover all of its losses on securities from that Trust.  Since a misrepresentation as to one Trust was likely repeated as to all of an issuers’ MBS offerings, that one misrepresentation can entitle FHFA to recover all of its losses on all certificates issued by that particular issuer.

The defendant may, however, reduce those damages by the amount of any loss that it can prove was caused by some factor other than its misrepresentation, but the burden of proof for this loss causation defense is on the defendant.  It is much more difficult for the defendant to prove that a loss was caused by some factor apart from its misrepresentation than to argue that the plaintiff hasn’t adequately proved causation, as it can with most tort claims.

Finally, any recovery is paid directly to the bondholder and not into the credit waterfall, meaning that it is not shared with other investors and not impacted by the class of certificate held by that bondholder.  This aspect alone makes these claims far more attractive for the party funding the litigation.  Though FHFA has not said exactly how much of the $200 billion in original principal balance of these notes it is seeking in its suits, one broker-dealer’s analysis has reached a best case scenario for FHFA of $60 billion flowing directly into its pockets.

There are other reasons, of course, that FHFA may have chosen this strategy.  Though the remedy appears to be the most important factor, securities law claims are also attractive because they may not require the plaintiff to present an in-depth review of loan-level information.  Such evidence would certainly bolster FHFA’s claims of misrepresentations with respect to loan-level representations in the offering materials (for example, as to LTV, owner occupancy or underwriting guidelines), but other claims may not require such proof.  For example, FHFA may be able to make out its claim that the ratings provided in the prospectus were misrepresented simply by showing that the issuer provided rating agencies with false data or did not provide rating agencies with its due diligence reports showing problems with the loans.  One state law judge has already bought this argument in an early securities law suit by the FHLB of Pittsburgh.  Being able to make out these claims without loan-level data reduces the plaintiff’s burden significantly.

Finally, keep in mind that simply because FHFA did not allege put-back claims does not foreclose it from doing so down the road.  Much as Ambac amended its complaint to include fraud claims against JP Morgan and EMC, FHFA could amend its claims later to include causes of action for contractual breach.  FHFA’s initial complaints were apparently filed at this time to ensure that they fell within the shorter statute of limitations for securities law and tort claims.  Contractual claims tend to have a longer statute of limitations and can be brought down the road without fear of them being time-barred (see interesting Subprime Shakeout guest post on statute of limitations concerns.

Predictions

Since everyone is eager to hear how all this will play out, I will leave you with a few predictions.  First, as I’ve predicted in the past, the involvement of the U.S. Government in mortgage litigation will certainly embolden other private litigants to file suit, both by providing political cover and by providing plaintiffs with a roadmap to recovery.  It also may spark shareholder suits based on the drop in stock prices suffered by many of these banks after statements in the media downplaying their mortgage exposure.

Second, as to these particular suits, many of the defendants likely will seek to escape the harsh glare of the litigation spotlight by settling quickly, especially if they have relatively little at stake (the one exception may be GE, which has stated that it will vigorously oppose the suit, though this may be little more than posturing).  The FHFA, in turn, is likely also eager to get some of these suits settled quickly, both so that it can show that the suits have merit with benchmark settlements and also so that it does not have to fight legal battles on 18 fronts simultaneously.  It will likely be willing to offer defendants a substantial discount against potential damages if they come to the table in short order.

Meanwhile, the banks with larger liability and a more precarious capital situation will be forced to fight these suits and hope to win some early battles to reduce the cost of settlement.  Due to the plaintiff-friendly nature of these claims, I doubt many will succeed in winning motions to dismiss that dispose entirely of any case, but they may obtain favorable evidentiary rulings or dismissals on successor-in-interest claims.  Still, they may not be able to settle quickly because the price tag, even with a substantial discount, will be too high.

On the other hand, trial on these cases would be a publicity nightmare for the big banks, not to mention putting them at risk a massive financial wallop from the jury (fraud claims carry with them the potential for punitive damages).  Thus, these cases will likely end up settling at some point down the road.  Whether that’s one year or four years from now is hard to say, but from what I’ve seen in mortgage litigation, I’d err on the side of assuming a longer time horizon for the largest banks with the most at stake.

Article taken from The Subprime Shakeout – www.subprimeshakeout.com
URL to article: the-government-giveth-and-it-taketh-away-the-significance-of-the-game-changing-fhfa-lawsuits.html

MERS: A FAILED ATTEMPT AT BYPASSING STATE AND FEDERAL AUTHORITY

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Fannie-Freddie’s Hypocritical Suit Against Banks Making Loans that GSEs Helped Create

Fannie-Freddie’s Hypocritical Suit Against Banks Making Loans that GSEs Helped Create

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Practically everything that the government is doing with respect to the economy and the housing market in particular is hypocritical. If we look to the result to determine the intent of the government you can see why nothing is being done to improve DOMESTIC market conditions. By removing the American consumer from the marketplace (through elimination of available funds in equity, savings or credit) the economic prospects for virtually every marketplace in the world is correspondingly diminished. The downward pressure on economic performance worldwide creates a panic regarding debt and currency. By default (and partially because of the military strength of the United States) people are ironically finding the dollar to be the safest haven during a bad storm.

 The result is that the federal government is able to borrow funds at interest rates that are so low that the investor is guaranteed to lose money after adjusting for inflation. The climate that has been created is one in which investors are far more concerned with preservation of capital than return on capital. In a nutshell, this is why the credit markets are virtually frozen with respect to the average potential consumer, the average small business owner, and the average entrepreneur or innovator who would otherwise start a new business and fuel rising employment.

 While it is true that the lawsuits by Fannie and Freddie are appropriate regardless of their past hypocritical behavior, they are really only rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Ultimately there must be a resolution to our current economic problems that is based in reality rather than the power to manipulate events. The scenario we all seek  would cleanup the rising title crisis, end the foreclosure crisis, and restore a true marketplace in the purchase and sale of real estate. We have all known for decades that the housing market drives the economy.

 There is obviously very little confidence that the government and market makers in the United States are going to seek any resolution based in reality. Therefore while investors are parking their money in dollars they are also driving up the price of gold and finding other innovative ways to preserve their wealth. As these innovations evolve it is almost certain that an alternative to the United States dollar will emerge. The driving force behind this innovation is the stagnation of the credit markets and the world marketplace. My opinion is that the United States is pursuing a policy that virtually guarantees the creation of a new world reserve currency.

 The creation of MERS was a private attempt to substitute private business plans for public laws. It didn’t work. The lawsuits by the government-sponsored entities together with lawsuits from investors who were duped into being lenders and homeowners who were duped into being borrowers in a rigged market are only going to result in money judgments and money settlements. With a nominal value of credit derivatives at over $600 trillion and the actual money supply at under $50 trillion there is literally not enough money in the world to fix this problem. The problem can only be fixed by recognizing and applying existing law to existing transactions.

 This means that MERS, already discredited, must be treated as a nonexistent entity in the world of real estate transactions. Nobody wants to do that because the failure to disclose an actual creditor on the face of a purported lean or encumbrance on land is a fatal defect in perfecting the lien. This is true throughout the country and it is obvious to anyone who has studied real property transactions and mortgages. If you don’t have the name and address of the creditor from whom you can obtain a satisfaction of mortgage, then you don’t have a mortgage that attaches to the land as a lien. It is this realization that is forming a number of lawsuits from the investors who advanced money for mortgage bonds. Those advances were the funds that were used to finance pornographic Wall Street profits with the balance used to fund absurd mortgage products.

 This is basic property law and public policy. There can be no confidence or consistency in the marketplace without a buyer or a lender knowing that they can rely upon the information contained in a government title Registry at the county recording office. Any other method requires them to take the word of someone without the authority of the government. This is a fact and it is the law. But the banks are successfully using politics to sidestep the basic essential elements of law. Under their theory the fact that the mortgage lien was never perfected would be ignored so that bank and non-bank institutions could become the largest landholders in the country without ever having spent a dime on loaning any money or purchasing the receivables. Politics is trumping law.

 The narrative and the debate are being absolutely controlled by Wall Street interests. We say we don’t like what the banks did and many say they don’t like banks at all. But it is also true that the same people who say they don’t like banks are willing to let the banks keep their windfall and make even more money at the expense of the taxpayer, the consumer and the homeowner. There are trillions of dollars available for investment in business expansion, government projects, and good old American innovation to drive a healthy economy. It won’t happen until we begin to drive the debate ourselves and force government and banking to conform to rules and laws that have been in existence for centuries.

from STOP FORECLOSURE FRAUD…………….

Lets NOT forget both Fannie and Freddie, like most of the named banks they are suing, each are shareholders of MERS.

Again, who gave the green light to eliminate the need for assignments and to realize the greatest savings, lenders should close loans using standard security instruments containing “MOM” language back in April 26, 1999?

This was approved by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which named MERS as Original Mortgagee (MOM)!

Open Market-

“U.S. is set to sue dozen big banks over mortgages,” reads the front-page headline in today’s New York Times. The “deck” below the headline explains that that the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, is “seen as arguing that lenders lacked due diligence” in the loans they made.

A more apt description would probably be that Fannie and Freddie are suing the banks for selling them the very loans the GSEs helped designed and that government mandates encourage — and are still encouraging them to make. These conflicted actions are just one more of the government’s contributions to the uncertainty that is helping to keep unemployment at 9 percent.

Strangely the author of the Times piece, Nelson Schwartz, ignores the findings of a recent blockbuster

[OPEN MARKET]

Window Dressing: File a Lawsuit — Maybe It will Improve the View

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EDITOR’S COMMENT: YAWN! The government keeps filing lawsuits that COULD be big and COULD cause make corrections in the marketplace to reflect reality. But then they go nowhere, with discovery stymied by the Banks and then a settlement on the table that sells out everyone except the half dozen big banks that we allow to control the market, courtesy of our taxpayer money and our refusal to apply the same rules to them we do to the 7,000 other community banks and credit unions who could do the same or better job at handling the country’s finance sector.

Don’t get fooled. When someone comes out and says that securitization was an illusion, a ruse to defraud as many people in world population as possible, TEN we will have addressed the problem. When that special someone is willing to consider the idea that the banks never actually lost money and never needed a bailout, but that the top management diverted pornographic profits to off-shore havens then we will be on track to recapture the nation’s wealth, which currently is held hostage by Wall Street banks and the great majority of those in government who depend upon the mega banks for their political campaign expenses.

In the meanwhile, the lawsuits should be watched because deep inside each suit are some additional allegations, indicating the results of administrative investigations that you can use. When we get serious, the lawsuits will come fast and furious and aggressively pursued. Until then, all thee actions amount to little more than window dressing.

U.S. Is Set to Sue a Dozen Big Banks Over Mortgages

By

The federal agency that oversees the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is set to file suits against more than a dozen big banks, accusing them of misrepresenting the quality of mortgage securities they assembled and sold at the height of the housing bubble, and seeking billions of dollars in compensation.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency suits, which are expected to be filed in the coming days in federal court, are aimed at Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, among others, according to three individuals briefed on the matter.

The suits stem from subpoenas the finance agency issued to banks a year ago. If the case is not filed Friday, they said, it will come Tuesday, shortly before a deadline expires for the housing agency to file claims.

The suits will argue the banks, which assembled the mortgages and marketed them as securities to investors, failed to perform the due diligence required under securities law and missed evidence that borrowers’ incomes were inflated or falsified. When many borrowers were unable to pay their mortgages, the securities backed by the mortgages quickly lost value.

Fannie and Freddie lost more than $30 billion, in part as a result of the deals, losses that were borne mostly by taxpayers.

In July, the agency filed suit against UBS, another major mortgage securitizer, seeking to recover at least $900 million, and the individuals with knowledge of the case said the new litigation would be similar in scope.

Private holders of mortgage securities are already trying to force the big banks to buy back tens of billions in soured mortgage-backed bonds, but this federal effort is a new chapter in a huge legal fight that has alarmed investors in bank shares. In this case, rather than demanding that the banks buy back the original loans, the finance agency is seeking reimbursement for losses on the securities held by Fannie and Freddie.

The impending litigation underscores how almost exactly three years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the beginning of a financial crisis caused in large part by subprime lending, the legal fallout is mounting.

Besides the angry investors, 50 state attorneys general are in the final stages of negotiating a settlement to address abuses by the largest mortgage servicers, including Bank of America, JPMorgan and Citigroup. The attorneys general, as well as federal officials, are pressing the banks to pay at least $20 billion in that case, with much of the money earmarked to reduce mortgages of homeowners facing foreclosure.

And last month, the insurance giant American International Group filed a $10 billion suit against Bank of America, accusing the bank and its Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch units of misrepresenting the quality of mortgages that backed the securities A.I.G. bought.

Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan all declined to comment. Frank Kelly, a spokesman for Deutsche Bank, said, “We can’t comment on a suit that we haven’t seen and hasn’t been filed yet.”

But privately, financial service industry executives argue that the losses on the mortgage-backed securities were caused by a broader downturn in the economy and the housing market, not by how the mortgages were originated or packaged into securities. In addition, they contend that investors like A.I.G. as well as Fannie and Freddie were sophisticated and knew the securities were not without risk.

Investors fear that if banks are forced to pay out billions of dollars for mortgages that later defaulted, it could sap earnings for years and contribute to further losses across the financial services industry, which has only recently regained its footing.

Bank officials also counter that further legal attacks on them will only delay the recovery in the housing market, which remains moribund, hurting the broader economy. Other experts warned that a series of adverse settlements costing the banks billions raises other risks, even if suits have legal merit.

The housing finance agency was created in 2008 and assigned to oversee the hemorrhaging government-backed mortgage companies, a process known as conservatorship.

“While I believe that F.H.F.A. is acting responsibly in its role as conservator, I am afraid that we risk pushing these guys off of a cliff and we’re going to have to bail out the banks again,” said Tim Rood, who worked at Fannie Mae until 2006 and is now a partner at the Collingwood Group, which advises banks and servicers on housing-related issues.

The suits are being filed now because regulators are concerned that it will be much harder to make claims after a three-year statute of limitations expires on Wednesday, the third anniversary of the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

While the banks put together tens of billions of dollars in mortgage securities backed by risky loans, the Federal Housing Finance Agency is not seeking the total amount in compensation because some of the mortgages are still good and the investments still carry some value. In the UBS suit, the agency said it owned $4.5 billion worth of mortgages, with losses totaling $900 million. Negotiations between the agency and UBS have yielded little progress.

The two mortgage giants acquired the securities in the years before the housing market collapsed as they expanded rapidly and looked for new investments that were seemingly safe. At issue in this case are so-called private-label securities that were backed by subprime and other risky loans but were rated as safe AAA investments by the ratings agencies.

In the years before 2007, “the market was so frothy then it was hard to find good quality loans to securitize and hold in your portfolio,” said David Felt, a lawyer who served as deputy general counsel of the finance agency until January 2010. “Fannie and Freddie thought they were taking AAA tranches, and like so many investors, they were surprised when they didn’t turn out to be such quality investments.”

Fannie and Freddie had other reasons to buy the securities, Mr. Rood added. For starters, they carried higher yields at a time when the two mortgage giants could buy them using money borrowed at rock-bottom rates, thanks to the implicit federal guarantee they enjoyed.

In addition, by law Fannie and Freddie were required to back loans to low-to-moderate income and minority borrowers, and the private-label securities were counted toward those goals.

“Competitive pressures and onerous housing goals compelled them to operate more like hedge funds than government-sponsored guarantors, ” Mr. Rood said.

In fact, Freddie was warned by regulators in 2006 that its purchases of subprime securities had outpaced its risk management abilities, but the company continued to load up on debt that ultimately soured.

As of June 30, Freddie Mac holds more than $80 billion in mortgage securities backed by more shaky home loans like subprime mortgages, Option ARM and Alt-A loans. Freddie estimates its total gross losses stand at roughly $19 billion. Fannie Mae holds $38 billion of securities backed by Alt-A and subprime loans, with losses standing at nearly $14 billion.

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